My Mane Squeeze wins Franklin Square in comeback

Sunday, January 14th, 2024

My Mane Squeeze scores in sophomore debut, taking the Franklin Square at Aqueduct. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

My Mane Squeeze solidified her credentials as one of the best New York-bred 2-year-old fillies in last season’s Maid of the Mist Stakes on Empire Showcase Day. A little more than two months later Buck Butler’s homebred daughter of Audible showed she’ll be plenty tough as a 3-year-old with a comeback victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Franklin Square Stakes at Aqueduct.

Off since the Oct. 29 Maid of the Mist at 1 mile, My Mane Squeeze returned with a 1 1/4-length victory over Bernietakescharge in the 6 1/2-furlong Franklin Square under Jose Lezcano. My Mane Squeeze won in 1:18.76 and gave Lezcano his third win on the card.

“I was jumping up and down and I’m not sure I saw it all,” Butler said. “I can’t say a whole hell of a lot except I love it and I’m praying that from what I’ve seen from her, it’s not the bottom of her yet. I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

The 8-5 favorite in the field of six reduced by the scratches of Soloshot and Unicorn Cake, My Mane Squeeze raced fifth early as Flight Control and Cara’s Time battled early and through the opening quarter in :22.63 over the fast track.

Lezcano guided My Mane Squeeze into third and outside of Bernietakescharge around the far turn as Flight Control continued to lead to the half in :46.76. My Mane Squeeze turned into the stretch at least five paths off the fence, engaged Bernietakescharge outside the eighth pole and eventually wore that rival down inside the final sixteenth for her third win in five starts. The first two finished well clear of the field, with 7-2 third choice Tricky Temper 10 1/4 lengths back in third. Flight Control finished fourth as Sweet Brown Sugar and Cara’s Time completed the field.

“She broke very good and I got a chance to put her outside in the clear,” Lezcano said. “She traveled very comfortable. In the stretch, I asked her to go on and she gave me what she’s got. …I was feeling good. In the clear, she jumped on the bridle and was galloping pretty nice. When I really had to ask her, I had plenty of horse and plenty of gas in the tank.”

My Mane Squeeze started her career with a third and a victory in maiden races at Saratoga Race Course, before a third in the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes in late September during the Belmont at the Big A meeting. She improved off that effort to win the Maid of the Mist by 3 lengths over Cara’s Time and Calwell Luvs Gold.

Maker and Butler gave My Mane Squeeze a short freshener after that victory and set sights on a sophomore campaign for the bay filly.

My Mane Squeezed breezed seven times on the Belmont training track for her return, including a bullet half in :48.25 Dec. 12 and a 3-furlong tightener in :38.21 three days before the Franklin Square. She pocketed $55,000 for the Franklin Square to boost her bankroll to $238.960.

Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, My Mane Squeeze is the fourth foal out of Butler’s Speightstown mare In Spite of Mama.

In Spite of Mama is also the dam of multiple stakes winner and $527,955-earner Rotknee, stakes-placed winner and $170,220-earner Lookin for Trouble, four-time winner and $166,181-earner Mama’s Gold and an unnamed 2-year-old filly by War of Will. In Spite of Mama is also the dam of a New York-bred yearling colt by Runhappy and was bred by popular young New York sire Honest Mischief in 2023.

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