by Keith McCalmont
Barry Schwartz’s homebred Stonewall Star made every pole a winning one in Sunday’s $100,000 Franklin Square, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 3-year-old New York-bred fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Horacio De Paz and piloted by Kendrick Carmouche, the Flatter bay broke alertly from the outermost post 6 as the even-money favorite and never looked back en route to a 6 1/4-length score over Little Linzee.
“I’m very happy. She controlled the race and was able to get it done,” De Paz said. “We figured we would get her into the race like she usually runs and nobody really pressed her, and she really kicked on. I told Kendrick, ‘Just have fun, she’s your kind of horse.’ He said, ‘Catch me if you can,’ and that’s what it was.”
Stonewall Star marked off splits of 22.93 seconds and 46.30 over the fast main track with Banterra tracking from second position and Little Linzee in third. Starry Midnight, the 2-1 second choice under Jose Lezcano, was maneuvered to the outside after exiting the inside post and loomed large to the outside of Security Code through the turn.
But Stonewall Star continued to find more and opened up a four-length advantage at the stretch call, drawing off impressively to stop the clock in a final time of 1:19.20. The stakes-placed Little Linzee, piloted by Katie Davis, stayed on strong to complete the exacta by three-quarters of a length over stakes-placed Security Code with Banterra, Lockbox and Starry Midnight rounding out the order of finish. Queens Masterpiece was scratched.
Carmouche said Stonewall Star touted herself on post parade.
“The horse warmed up really well,” Carmouche said. “It looked like I was the speed of the race and the track is favoring speed. I just broke and went and made myself a winner. They said 22 [seconds for the opening quarter-mile], but it felt like I went 23 the first quarter, that’s how easy I had it going down the backstretch. When I asked her, she leveled off and did everything perfectly. I’m just grateful for the owner and trainer to give me the shot.”
Little Linzee, a debut maiden winner in July over turf at Saratoga Race Course, entered from a third-place finish under Davis in the NYSSS Fifth Avenue, which was contested over a muddy and sealed track on December 17 here.
“I’m very proud of her,” Davis said. “Seeing all of her performances on the dirt, I was happy to see that the track was a little wet. She loves that.”
Stonewall Star posted a perfect in-the-money record of 5-2-1-2 in her juvenile campaign, including a close third against the boys in the New York Breeders’ Futurity in October at Finger Lakes Racetrack ahead of a win in the state-bred Key Cents on November 20 at the Big A. She entered from a pacesetting third in the seven-furlong Gin Talking in her first venture against open company on December 30 at Laurel Park.
De Paz said he will consider a pair of $100,000 six-furlong sprints at the Big A for Stonewall Star’s next outing, including the Cicada versus open company on March 18 and the state-bred East View on March 24.
“She’s worthy of [open company] and I will definitely take a look at both of those races,” De Paz said.
Stonewall Star, a full-sibling to multiple stakes winner La Fuerza, is out of the Proud Citizen mare Jonata, who is a half-sister to multiple graded-stakes placed Pinch Pie and stakes winner Jonesy Boy.
Bred in the Empire State by her owner, Stonewall Star banked $55,000 in victory while improving her record to 6-3-1-2. She returned $4.20 for a $2 win wager.
Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with an eight-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
America's Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct winter meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.
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