Rodriguez, Pletcher tie for top trainer honors; Franco wins Aqueduct fall meet jockey title
by Brian Bohl
Godolphin and Chester and Mary Broman, Sr. tie for owner crown
Trainers Rudy Rodriguez and Todd Pletcher (12 wins apiece) and jockey Manny Franco (25 victories) were the leaders in their respective categories for Aqueduct Racetrack's 22-day fall meet that concluded when Sunday's card was canceled due to heavy fog.
Chester and Mary Broman, Sr. and Godolphin tied for the most wins by an ownership group, with each entity registering six wins in a meet that started on November 2.
Rodriguez saddled 12 winners in 65 starts with earnings of $635,976. He won his eighth meet at Aqueduct, encompassing four fall meets, three inner-track meet crowns and the winter meet title he earned earlier this year.
Pletcher had 12 winners from 45 starts with earnings of $749,064. Among his highlights during the meet was Bal Harbour winning the Gio Ponti on November 23, Village King winning the Red Smith on November 17, Empire of War winning the Awad on November 4, and South of France and La Fuerza winning stakes on November 25 in the Tepin and Notebook, respectively.
Franco earned his second riding title on the NYRA circuit, adding to his 2018 Aqueduct winter meet. Franco, who will turn 24 on December 19, registered 25 wins, 14 second-place finishes and 24 third-place efforts from 120 mounts. Among his highlights was his victory aboard Vekoma in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 and aboard Positive Spirit in the Grade 2 Demoiselle on Cigar Mile Day on December 1.
Chester and Mary Broman, Sr. registered six wins in 13 starts for a 46.15 percent winning percentage. Their stakes win during the meet came with Highway Star capturing the New York Stallion Series Staten Island on November 11.
Godolphin tallied six winners, a pair of runner-up efforts and two third-place finishes in 16 starts, leading all ownership groups with earnings of $376,145. The meet highlight's include Exulting winning the Artie Schiller on November 10.
Aqueduct Racetrack's winter and spring meets will feature a total of 52 stakes worth more than $7.3 million in purses, highlighted by the Big A's traditional spring showcase, the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday, April 6.
The 2019 winter meet will be buoyed by the addition of one new stakes event, the $100,000 Bernardini at 1 5/16 miles on the main track, slated for March 2.
Purse increases will be recognized in the $250,000 Busher Invitational for sophomore fillies, up $50,000 from a year ago, while the New York Stallion Series Times Square Division and Park Avenue Division will each double to $200,000, to close out stakes racing for the spring meet at the Big A on April 20.
New York's "Road to the Kentucky Derby" will continue into the Aqueduct winter meet, which begins on December 7, with the Grade 3, $150,000 Jerome contested at one mile on New Year's Day, followed on February 2 by the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers at 1 1/8 miles, each worth 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers towards a spot in the Derby on May 4 at Churchill Downs.