Manny Franco

Rotknee A New Stakes Winner for Runhappy in Damon Runyon

The progressive Rotknee (Runhappy) took his current winning streak to three, running out an easy winner of Sunday's Damon Runyon S. at the Big A. Drawn widest in a field of five, the homebred showed the best early speed and angled over to the fence in the opening furlong, forcing odds-on Best Idea (Honor Code) to be checked for half a stride. Going strongly on the engine beneath Manny Franco, Rotknee turned them in a couple of lengths to the good and kept on gamely to become the seventh stakes...

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Cordero Out as Franco's Agent

Manny Franco, who has been among the winningest riders on the tough NYRA circuit for the last several years, has fired his agent, Hall of Famer Angel Cordero Jr. "It's true," Cordero said Tuesday by text. "There's no problem. He just wants to do better. I don't blame him. Everybody wants to be No. 1." In 2020, Cordero was also dismissed by Hall of Famer John Velazquez after working as his agent for 22 years. Cordero, 79, is still the agent for apprentice Jose Gomez. He has not yet found...

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Franco Tests Positive for COVID-19

Jockey Manuel Franco tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday and will remain off his mounts until Sunday, Jan. 9. All members of the New York Racing Association jockey colony are vaccinated and adhere to established protocols. In addition, the jockey quarters at Aqueduct have been substantially altered to provide maximum physical distancing and reduce density. Franco has not experienced symptoms and was proactively tested because of standard contact tracing following the positive tests of jockeys Jorge Vargas, Jr. and Jalon Samuel Dec. 31. Vargas and Samuel will be permitted to ride...

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Candy Ride's Senbei Romps in Notebook

Senbei romped to the third stakes win of his young career with a front-running victory in the Notebook S. at Aqueduct Sunday. The heavy favorite zipped out to the early lead and was in control through an opening quarter in :23.03. He shrugged off Bustin Pietre after a half in :46.59 and sailed home an easy winner. "I was confident because the jockey [Manny Franco] looked so comfortable on him," said winning trainer Christophe Clement. "When Carmouche [Kendrick, aboard No. 3, Bustin Pietre] came to him at the three-eighths, I...

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A Quick Check-In With Angel Cordero Jr.

In less than five weeks, the King of Saratoga will head north to return to his kingdom in Upstate New York. But for now, Hall of Famer Angel Cordero, Jr. is busy at Belmont Park as the jockey agent for up-and-coming young rider Manny Franco. These days, it's not easy to make it to the top of the jockey ranks in New York, according to Cordero. "Fortunately, we have something happening here that didn't happen for a long time anywhere," he said. "We have the top nine or 10 riders...

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Tiz the Law Confirmed for Pegasus, Franco Sacked

Confirming a report from Bill Finley in the Nov. 11 edition of the TDN, Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law (Constitution) will train on in 2021 as a 4-year-old, with the $3-million GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 23 as his target. In a release pushed across its social media channels Thursday afternoon, Sackatoga announced that Manny Franco, who had ridden Tiz the Law to victories in the GI Curlin Florida Derby, GI Belmont S. and GI Runhappy Travers S. and to a runner-up effort to Authentic (Into...

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Tiz the Law to Return in Pegasus, Perhaps With a New Jockey

A rarity in the modern era for a top-class 3-year-old, Tiz the Law (Constitution) will race again next year and is being pointed for the GI Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park. But who will be aboard him that day? It appears the answer is not Manny Franco. After trainer Barclay Tagg criticized Franco's ride in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, echoed those sentiments Tuesday. When asked if there would be a jockey change, Knowlton said it is under...

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Angel Cordero, Jr. Taking Book of Maryland Apprentice Charlie Marquez

Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero, Jr., who currently represents Manny Franco, regular pilot of GI Belmont S. and GI Travers S. winner Tiz the Law (Constitution), is adding Maryland's leading apprentice, Charlie Marquez, to his team. Marquez, age 17, rides with a five-pound weight allowance and was the third-leading rider at Laurel Park's summer meet, which wrapped up Saturday. "There's nothing like Laurel," said Marquez. "I love all the people. The environment's great, the horses are great. I just wanted to try something new in my career. I always...

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Jockeys Pledge Support to Injured Rider Vinnie Bednar

Jockeys Javier Castellano, Mike Smith, John Velazquez, Manuel Franco and Tyler Gaffalione have pledged a percentage of their earnings from the GI Kentucky Oaks and GI Kentucky Derby race cards to help rider 28-year-old rider Vinnie Bednar, who suffered a catastrophic fall at Los Alamitos Racetrack Aug. 22. Bednar is currently experiencing lower-limb paralysis following initial surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. He remains hospitalized while awaiting transfer to the Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, a world-renowned, premier center for spinal and brain injury. The accident occurred in...

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Op/Ed: Churchill Must Make Tough Call and Limit Derby to Local Jockeys

With Saratoga, Del Mar and a number of other tracks effectively eliminating jockeys from coming and going due to fears they will spread the coronavirus, attention now turns to Churchill Downs and the GI Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs President Kevin Flannery and his team are no doubt mulling whether or not they will put similar restrictions in place, effectively allowing only Kentucky-based riders to compete during the five days of racing. It's not exactly an easy call, but their number one priority has to be safety. And that means following...

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Eight Post It 'Tiz' for Belmont Stakes

ELMONT, NY -- Led by imposing GI Curlin Florida Derby winner Tiz the Law (Constitution), a field of 10 has been drawn for Saturday's shortened 152nd renewal of the $1-million GI Belmont S. Tiz the Law, also an authoritative winner of last term's GI Champagne S. at Belmont Park, will break from post eight under regular rider Manny Franco in the first leg of the reshuffled Triple Crown going 1 1/8 miles. The 6-5 morning-line favorite is trained by Barclay Tagg for Sackatoga Stable. Tagg and Jack Knowlton's outfit, of...

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New York Horsemen Soldier On Amid Pandemic

On Mar. 19, the New York Racing Association suspended racing for an undetermined period after a backstretch worker tested positive for COVID-19, which left New York horsemen scrambling to adjust and come up with Plan B for themselves, their horses and their staff. Nine days later--following the announcement that Aqueduct had been approved as a temporary hospital site--NYRA announced that the rest of the Aqueduct winter meet would be canceled and the Ozone Park oval would not host its traditional spring meet, headlined by the GII Wood Memorial S. "On...

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