Stonewall Star shines in Franklin Square

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

Stonewall Star picks up second stakes victory in Sunday’s Franklin Square at Aqueduct. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Barry Schwartz’s homebred Stonewall Star continued her forward movement that started back in late summer with a victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Franklin Square Stakes at Aqueduct.

Coming off a third in open company in the Gin Talking Stakes last month at Laurel Park, the 3-year-old daughter of Flatter dominated the 6 1/2-furlong Franklin Square from start to finish en route to a 6 1/4-length tally under Kendrick Carmouche. Trained by Horacio De Paz, Stonewall Star added the Franklin Square to her victory two back in the Key Cents Stakes at Aqueduct and improved to 3-for-6 overall in her young career.

“I’m very happy,” De Paz said. “She controlled the race and was able to get it done. We figured we would get her into the race like she usually runs and nobody really pressed her, and she really kicked on. I told Kendrick, ‘Just have fun, she’s your kind of horse.’ ”

Carmouche, riding the filly out of the winning Proud Citizen mare Jonata for the first time, relished that bit of confidence from De Paz.

“Catch me if you can,” he told De Paz.

That’s exactly how the Franklin Square unfolded, and nobody caught Stonewall Star.

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite against her five opponents – which included stakes-placed Security Code and Little Linzee – Stonewall Star took the lead shortly after the break and opened up a length through the first split in :22.93 over the fast track.

Carmouche said the first quarter felt much softer and continued to keep the filly alone on the lead around the far turn and to the half in :46.30.

“The horse warmed up really well,” he said. “It looked like I was the speed of the race and the track is favoring speed. I just broke and went and made myself a winner. They said 22, but it felt like I went 23 the first quarter, that’s how easy I had it going down the backstretch.”

Carmouche gave a look back over his right shoulder turning for home as Stonewall Star lengthened her stride and her advantage to 3 1/2 lengths in midstretch. No serious threat emerged from there and Stonewall Star cruised through the final furlong to win in 1:19.20.

“When I asked her, she leveled off and did everything perfectly,” Carmouche said. “I’m just grateful for the owner and trainer to give me the shot.”

Little Linzee made a mile rally in the lane to finish second, three quarters of a length in front of Security Code with Stonewall Star’s early stalker, Banterra, a head back in fourth. Lockbox and Starry Midnight completed the field.

Stonewall Star picked up $55,000 for the win to pad her bankroll to $195,808. Stonewall Star started her career with a runner-up to Security Code late in the Saratoga Race Course meeting before a win at Belmont at the Big A and a third against males in the New York Breeders’ Futurity at Finger Lakes in mid-October. Those three races proceeded her 4-length win the Key Cents and her third in the Gin Talking, where she led in midstretch.

De Paz said she’ll most likely stay in her home state and face fellow New York-breds in the immediate future, possibly in the March 24 East View Stakes.

“We’ll look at the stakes schedule in New York and keep her around here for right now,” De Paz said. “She’s worthy of [open company] and I will definitely take a look at both of those races.”

Bred and foaled at Schwartz’s Stonewall Farm in Granite Springs, Stonewall Star is the fourth foal and one of two stakes winners out of Jonata. La Fuerza, a 6-year-old full sister to Stonewall Star won three stakes carrying his owner and breeder’s black and white colors in 2018. He won four of eight and earned 4261,610.

Jonata is also the dam of New York-bred winners Citizen K, a gelding by Mizzen Mast also trained by De Paz; and Whatlovelookslike, a 3-year-old by English Channel who won at Saratoga in early September and is 2-2-1 in seven starts with $155,250 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

A $100,000 purchase by Schwartz at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, Jonata won two of 17 starts with five placings and $140,800.

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