Jockey Profile - Manuel Franco
Manuel Franco started riding in 2013. He rode so well as an apprentice jockey that he was a finalist for the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 2013. Victor Carrasco won the award. But, it's been Franco who has made an impact on the New York Racing Circuit.
Already in his short career, Franco has become one of the go to riders for some of the top barns in New York. In 2013, Franco's mounts won over $4.89 million. 2014 saw Manuel's mounts take home over $8.2 million. In 2015 Franco's rides busted out with over $9.35 million. His mounts increased their earnings with over $12.47 million in 2016. As of Feb. 28 this year, Franco's mounts have already made over $1.78 million.
It's only a matter of time before this young jockey starts winning graded races all over the country. Check out 4 of Manuel's most impressive graded stakes wins so far in his short career.
Far From Over, 2015 Grade 3 Withers Stakes
What I love about Manuel Franco's ride on Far From Over in the 2015 Withers Stakes is that he didn't panic. Thoroughbreds are sensitive animals. If the jockey panics aboard the horse, the horse is going to know it. By not panicking, Franco allowed Far From Over to settle into stride. Then, when Franco gave Far From Over his cue, the equine responded. Franco showed an innate ability to communicate with Far From Over in this race. Wow.
Sunny Ridge, 2016 Grade 3 Withers Stakes
Manuel gave a more traditional ride aboard Sunny Ridge in the 2016 Withers Stakes. He allowed Sunny Ridge to settle off Vorticity before making a move around the final turn. What's impressive about this ride is how Franco didn't either press Vorticity along the backstretch, or try to save ground. He trusted that he could get by Vorticity around the final turn even though the first quarter was run in a dawdling :24.56. This was yet another terrific ride by the young jockey.
Joking, 2016 Grade 1 Vosburgh Stakes
Joking went off third choice in the 2016 Grade 1 Vosburgh behind X Y Jet and Holy Boss. The pace helped Joking, no doubt. But, Manuel still had to make his move at the perfect moment for Joking to get up in time ahead of Stallwalkin Dude and Weekend Hideaway. This race shows Manuel's impeccable timing. If Franco's timing had been off on Joking, the best he may have done was finish third.
Yelllow Agate, 2016 Grade 1 Frizette Stakes
Notice how Manuel holds Yellow Agate in the fist quarter-mile of the 2016 Frizette Stakes? He just knows that the rest of the field is going much too quickly. Decisions like that are what makes great jockeys great.
Franco isn't a great jockey yet. He's much too young to be considered a great jockey. But, he's well on his way to becoming one of the greats because he provides rides like the one he gave on Yellow Agate in the Frizette Stakes.
I can't wait to see what Manuel Franco accomplishes in the future!