Aunt Babe solves the puzzle of the Franklin Square

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

By Sarah Mace

Louis Ferrari’s homebred Aunt Babe (Desert Party) solved the handicapping puzzle that was the $100,000 Franklin Square for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies at the Big A on Saturday. With a half-dozen evenly matched sophomores in the hunt, Aunt Babe got an ideal ride from jockey Rafael Hernandez that gave her the chance to play to her strengths and win the day.

Out of the gate smoothly, early on in the run up the backstretch Aunt Babe settled in fifth, while Velvet Trinni blazed the trail from post one, clocking an opening quarter mile in 22.77 as 5-2 favorite Pauseforthecause pressed the pace.

Aunt Babe improved a couple of spots in the approach to the far turn and drafted in behind the top two, securing a spot at the rail.

As Hernandez reported, “A couple of horses had a lot of speed, so we broke good at the gate and tried to keep [our] position right behind them, like two lengths behind the speed”

While Aunt Babe saved ground through the far turn, Pauseforthecause ranged up beside Velvet Trinni and took over at the quarter pole as the half went in 46.67.

NYRA/Rob Mauhar

Aunt Babe then tipped out into the clear for the dash to the wire.

“[In the stretch], I thought I had a good shot,” said Hernandez. “Even at the quarter-pole, I stayed behind the two-horse [Pauseforthecause], I said, ‘Man, we keep going like that, I’m going to have a lot of horse for the stretch for the last sixteenth of the race, and that’s what she did.”

Aunt Babe caught up with Pauseforthecause around the furlong marker and struck the front in the final sixteenth. She had enough in left reserve to stave off a rallying My Roxy Girl, secureding the victory by a neck a final time of 1:11.79 over “good” going. Runner-up My Roxy Girl finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Pauseforthecause, followed by Beautiful Buzz, Trinni Ninja and Velvet Trinni. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Winner of her Belmont debut at Belmont by 7 1/2 lengths for Carlos Martin, three starts later, Aunt Babe lit up the tote board in the Fifth Avenue division of the New York Stallion Stakes series when she won by a nose at odds of 39-1 for trainer Jimmy Ferraro. Her most recent start was the one-mile East View stakes on January 14, when she attended a fast pace before fading. In the Franklin Square she was turning back to the six-furlong distance of her two prior victories.

Ferraro said, “She cut back with ease. Last time [in the East View], the mile was too much for her. Today, it was the type of trip we wanted to see. In her last race, she was a little too sharp and she was up closer than we wanted her to be. We just wanted to try and lay off the speed, and we were very confident coming in. The time was pretty good, too. Things played out well. There was plenty of speed and we just stayed off it.” Ferraro would not rule out trying to stretch Aunt Babe out again, at least to seven furlongs.

Foaled at Peacefield in Schuylerville, Aunt Babe is a daughter of Bella Silver, a placed runner by Silver Deputy also bred and campaigned by Ferrari. Aunt Babe has won three of six career starts and earned $188,000.


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