Manny Franco: Narrow escape to Big A feature race winner

NEW YORK (AP) Jockey Manny Franco bounced back from a first-race spill to win the $81,000 feature Wednesday at Aqueduct.

Franco and Junior Alvarado were both unseated when Cuantos broke down in midstretch and Blame Jim collided with the fallen horse. Cuantos, Alvarado's mount, suffered a fractured right leg and was humanely put down on the track. Blame Jim, like both riders, escaped injury.

Franco celebrated his good fortune by guiding Joking to a 1 1/4-length victory in the feature.

The gelding, the oldest runner in the race at 7, improved to 7 for 36 for owner-trainer Charlton Baker.

The time was 1:10.02 for the six furlongs.

Joking paid $12, $3.90 and $3. Fabulous Kid was second, returning $3.30 and $2.50. Nubin Ridge paid $2.70 to show.

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