Funny How goes from last to first in her stakes debut (Chelsea Durand)
By Keith McCalmont – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Adelphi Racing Club and Cutair Racing’s Funny How, expertly piloted by Katie Davis, made her stakes debut a winning one in Sunday’s $100,000 Broadway, a seven-furlong sprint for New York-bred fillies and mares 4-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Ray Handal, the 4-year-old Overanalyze bay won for the fifth consecutive start, rallying from the back of the pack to score by 4 1/4 lengths over graded-stakes placed Betsy Blue.
“When I warmed up with her, she threw a buck jump, so she was feeling really good,” Davis said. “She was eager to get out of the gate. I was OK that she didn’t break as well. I kept her calm and relaxed and made that one move with her while all the speed goes.”
November Rein was hustled out of the inside post by Frankie Pennington to set splits of 23.45 seconds and 46.87 over the fast main track with Know It All Audrey keeping close watch from second position.
Funny How was last-of-6 in the early running after tossing her head at the break and pinched back behind rivals, but advanced to the inside of Honey Money through the turn as November Rein clung to the lead. Funny How sustained her run out of the turn, cruising outside of Know It All Audrey and overtaking November Rein en route to a stylish score in a final time of 1:25.82.
Betsy Blue, who was last at the half-mile call, rallied to complete the exacta by a head over Bank Sting with Know It All Audrey, Honey Money and November Rein rounding out the order of finish.
Handal praised the gritty Funny How for finding ways to win.
“She’s a filly that’s just overcome adversity from Day One. She had some setbacks when she was younger,” Handal said. “She had a soft tissue [issue] in her back ankle and we gave her the time off and she overcame all that. She just has tenacity and a will to win and an amazing fight to her. She’s overcome trips. She overcomes bad breaks like she did today.”
Funny How, who finished third in each of her first two outings, is undefeated since graduating in September sprinting six furlongs against open company at Belmont at the Big A. She followed with a pair of state-bred allowance wins to close out her sophomore campaign at the Big A.
Funny How entered from a rallying nose allowance score traveling seven furlongs against open company on January 7 here over a good main track with Davis in the irons for the first time.
Handal said Funny How could stretch out further in the future.
“I always thought she would be fine at the middle distances from seven-eighths or even a mile. She won the sprints just because she’s so talented,” Handal said. “We’ll let the dust settle, see what kind of figures she runs and see what options we have going forward. We’re not discouraged from anything. This was a massive performance today.”
The victory marked the first stakes score in New York for Davis, who had previously notched stakes wins at Laurel Park and Charles Town.
“It’s super exciting,” Davis said. “I looked at the TV screen and saw just me and said, ‘This is awesome!’”
Davis credited Handal and the ownership group for their patience in progressing Funny How.
“Every time I get on her and breeze her, she just keeps improving. Fillies sometimes go the wrong way, but this one just keeps improving,” Davis said. “They did it right with her. They took the steps and moved her forward and didn’t break her heart. They really got the most out of her and she’s still doing amazing.”
In victory, Funny How bested a pair of formidable graded-stakes placed foes in Bank Sting and Betsy Blue, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Grade 3 Go for Wand here in December.
Betsy Blue, a three-time stakes winner, entered from consecutive wins in the Garland of Roses in December and Interborough in January; while Bank Sting, a five-time stakes winner, is the reigning New York-bred Champion Older Dirt Female and New York-bred Champion Female Sprinter.
A $120,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale, Funny How, out of the multiple stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Heavenly Humor, is a half-sister to graded stakes-placed Funny Guy, stakes-winner Super Humor, and the multiple stakes-placed Three Jokers.
Bred in the Empire State by Hibiscus Stable, Funny How banked $55,000 in victory while improving her record to 7-5-0-2. She returned $12.60 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes Friday at the Big A with an eight-race card. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.