Franco clinches riding title at Belmont at the Big A fall meet; Chad Brown leading trainer
Oct 30, 2023
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Franco clinches riding title at Belmont at the Big A fall meet; Chad Brown leading trainer

by Mary Eddy

Jockey Manny Franco capped a memorable day at Belmont at the Big A when securing his ninth riding title at a NYRA meet after a three-way battle with Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Jose Ortiz, who tied for second with 31 wins, on Closing Day of the 2023 fall meet.

Franco, who also earned his 2,000th career victory and 200th stakes win in the $200,000 Mohawk [Race 2] aboard Spirit of St Louis, posted a total of 34 wins, giving him this third riding title of the year after taking the Aqueduct winter and spring titles. Franco posted a record of 183-34-31-31 at the meet, which ran from September 14 through October 29.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Franco. “I’m just so grateful to be part of it and for everyone who supports me. That’s what I’m here for.”

Franco, who won three races on Sunday, secured four stakes wins this meet, including the Grade 3 Bold Ruler [Durante], the Ashley T. Cole [Spirit of St Louis], the Awad [Move to Gold] and the Mohawk [Spirit of St Louis]. Franco’s mounts banked $2,814,531 in total purse earnings with a win rate of 18.58 percent and in-the-money percentage of 52.46.

“I’ve been so lucky and blessed. This circuit is tough with the best riders in the country, and to win a title is just amazing,” Franco said. “I’m happy and I’ll keep working hard to maintain this level. Every win is not easy, so I’m just happy to get this number.”

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown won his 30th training title at a NYRA meet and 12th consecutive Belmont fall title when leading all trainers with 28 wins, giving him back-to-back meet titles after tying with Linda Rice at this year’s Saratoga meet. Brown, 44, posted a record of 107-28-17-11.

Brown, who has been the leading trainer on the NYRA circuit for the last eight years, enjoyed nine stakes triumphs at the meet, including the Grade 2 Beldame [Randomized], Grade 2 Woodward [Zandon], Grade 2 Miss Grillo [Hard to Justify], Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Waya [McKulick], Noble Damsel [Gerrymander], Ashley T. Cole [Spirit of St Louis], Athenia [Technical Analysis], Awad [Move to Gold] and Mohawk [Spirit of St Louis]. Brown’s horses banked a total of $2,784,375 with a win rate of 26.17 percent and in-the-money rate of 52.34 percent.

Linda Rice, who had taken the title at each NYRA meet since last year’s Aqueduct fall meet, finished second with 22 wins while trainers Todd Pletcher, Rudy Rodriguez and Mike Maker tied for third with 11 wins each.

Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables posted 12 wins to secure their 24th owners’ title on the NYRA circuit, and fourth consecutive dating to this year’s Aqueduct spring meet. Klaravich Stables posted a record of 43-12-5-2 with total purse earnings of $1,156,282. Barry Schwartz finished second [six wins] and Michael Dubb tied with Godolphin for third [five wins].

Among Klaravich Stables’ wins were stakes scores by the aforementioned Brown trainees Randomized, Gerrymander, McKulick, Technical Analysis and Move to Gold.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Aqueduct Racetrack for the nine-race Opening Day of the 31-day 2023 fall meet, which will offer 33 stakes, 10 of them graded events, worth a total of $6.385 million. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern. 

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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