Funny How and Katie Davis weathering the mud to win the Broadway. (Chelsea Durand)
Promiseher America targets G3 Gazelle
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Red-hot New York-bred Funny How, a winner of her last five starts, returned to the work tab on Friday, registering a sharp half-mile breeze in 48.05 seconds over a fast Belmont Park dirt training track.
With Katie Davis aboard, the 4-year-old daughter of Overanalyze worked to the inside of stable mate Fromanothamutha in her first breeze since a triumphant stakes debut in the February 12 Broadway at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Despite a slow break, Funny How handled her stakes debut with vigor, making a five wide bid in upper stretch to collar pacesetter November Rein and stride away to a 4 1/4-length conquest. The win garnered a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure.
Funny How is targeting the Grade 3, $150,000 Distaff Handicap for older fillies and mares going seven furlongs on April 7 at the Big A.
Trainer Ray Handal said he was pleased with the swift work.
“They did it really nicely. They galloped out strong and I told them on the radio to slow it down, but they kept on going,” Handal said. “It was a good first work back and hopefully we get a few more. We have three more works to go. It was a little quicker than I wanted, but she’s fresh off the race. The first eighth was nice, and they went a little quick that second eighth of a mile and I told them on the radio to stay together. She did it nicely in hand and they galloped out well together.”
Handal added he would likely work Funny How solo next week.
“I’ll probably split her up next week. I won’t put her in company and hopefully do something a little closer to a 50,” Handal said. “I gave her an extra week. She’s been going at it since she’s been in training. I would have breezed her normally last week with three weeks’ rest. I gave her four weeks this time. I didn’t feel we needed a fifth one. I think that might have been why she was a little more fresh.”
Funny How has been on a tear since breaking her maiden going six furlongs against open company in September at Belmont at the Big A, defeating next-out winners Arrogant Lady and Kitten’s Appeal. She defeated fellow New York-breds in her following two efforts before stretching out to seven furlongs against open allowance company on January 7 ahead of her stakes coup.
Handal said Funny How is easily adaptable in race situations.
“She can show speed if you want and come off if she needs to. She listens to whatever you need,” Handal said.
A half-sister to graded-stakes placed New York-bred Funny Guy, Funny How is out of the multiple stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Heavenly Humor. She was purchased for $120,000 by Joe Migliore from the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale.
Handal also has third-out maiden winner Promiseher America in contention for the Grade 3, $250,000 Gazelle on April 8 at the Big A. The nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies is the final local qualifier for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and awards the top-five finishers 100-40-30-20-10 points.
The chestnut daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah was a 6 1/4-length winner at third asking in a local one-turn mile maiden on February 19, where she ran a 73 Beyer.
“I think she’s going to do really well going longer,” said Handal. “These American Pharoah progeny seem to excel going route distances. She has gotten better the more I stretch her out. I think she’ll keep on getting better.”
Owned by Hoffman Thoroughbreds and Tom McCrocklin, Promiseher America was a $75,000 acquisition from the 2022 OBS April Sale and is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Promisedyouheaven. Her third dam, Deceptive, produced Mizdirection, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in 2012-13.
Handal also provided an update on stakes-winner Sweetlou’sgotaces, who has gone unplaced in both of her starts this year at graded stakes level over the Gulfstream Park turf. The sophomore Constitution filly broke her maiden in Aqueduct’s Tepin in November under a gate-to-wire ride by Joel Rosario and has now returned to Handal’s primary New York division.
“We’ll maybe go for a ‘1x’ and get her confidence back,” Handal said. “I don’t know what it was. She wasn’t happy though. She was not her typical self. The first race you can make an excuse for because she got pressed. She just was not herself down there overall. So, we got her back home, and we’ll give her a routine and go from there.”
Sweetlou’sgotaces, owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Twin Sports Racing, is out of the Lonhro mare Kayce Lu, whose dam Kayce Ace is a full sister to 2008 Grade 1 Travers winner Colonel John as well as Mr. Hot Stuff – a multiple Grade 1 winner over the hurdles. She was bought for $60,000 from the 2022 OBS April Sale.
Aqueduct Racetrack Week 12 stakes probables
Saturday, March 18
Probable: Downtown Mischief (Linda Rice), Fancy Azteca (Rice), Hot Little Thing (Rodolphe Brisset)
Possible: Fabulously Funny (Anthony Dutrow), Parody (Brisset), Tappin Josie (Horacio De Paz)
Sunday, March 19
$100K Damon Runyon (NYB)
Probable: Andiamo a Firenze (Kelly Breen), Bobby Ride (Karl Grusmark), D’ont Lose Cruz (David Duggan), East Coast Girl (Breen), What’s Up Bro (Robert Klesaris)
Possible: Looms Boldly (Brad Cox)