Monday, March 22, 2010

Ha! That's Funny

It has become apparent, the fleetest juvenile of 09', D'Funnybone, is back and is ready for some action. Last year the fleet footed colt blaze his way to wins in the Saratoga Special and the Belmont Futurity. However, the colt disappointed badly his first try over synthetics, going two turns in the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

Nearly three months after his Breeders Cup debacle the speed chestnut returned in the Hutcheson Stakes, where he made a mockery out of his six over matched opponents. Among those that were left in D'Funnybone's wake was Spectacular Bid winner, A Little Warm. After such a strong performance, it seemed that the connections of the colt would give the green light, to a start in the Kentucky Derby. However, after entering their colt in the Swale, owner Paul Pompa announced that instead of entering their colt in the contentious Derby fray, they would wait two weeks for the 9.5 furlong Preakness Stakes.

Soon after that decision, D'Funnybone, yet again, wow racing fans as he toyed with the Swale field. He sat just off of blistering fractions that saw a first quarter fly by in 22.24, and a half in 44.5 seconds! The final time was 1.21.98, putting even more of an exclamation point on the performance. Though, as I said when I first saw this colt win the Saratoga Special, he is brilliant sprinter/miler, maybe even middle distance horse, but not Derby horse.

In my opinion, D'Funnybone could probably get up to 9 furlongs, maybe even the squeak out the 9.5 furlongs of the Preakness, but ten furlongs, in one of the most demanding races in a horse's career, heck no. Looking back at the Swale, one would initially be wowed by his first quarter to his three quarters, but yet again, I say look deeper. D'Funnybone's final furlong went in 13 seconds, not impressive at any distance. Was it because he was cruising home, relatively under no pressure, or was he a little worn out from the scorching pace he was involved in. I would say a little bit of both, since nobody was really coming on strong enough to pass him in the stretch.

That said, D'Funnybone would not be running that fast in races longer. I would envision a pace scenario where he was pushed to go 46 seconds, at the quickest, which would probably leave a lot more in the tank. However I question his ability to relax and rate off the pace. Will he submit to his rider's commands and settle off the lead, or will he stretch himself beyond his limit by going full throttle all the way. Personally, I think he is one of those horses who likes to be in the thick of things, or just off the lead. He is used to running his first quarters around 22 and change and half miles in 45 and change.

What will he do when he is forced to run five, ten, possibly even fifteen lengths slower? If he were to relax off the pace or even run on the lead without feeling pressured, he could be a forced of nature. If not, he will likely fade, after running beyond his limits. He is probably the most talented 3yr old and he is most definitely the fleetest of the bunch. But D'Funnybone a router? That's funny.


  1. Good analysis. It's also funny to think there's much difference between a mile and a quarter and a mile and 3/16ths. I read how Dickie D. mentioned D'Funnybone would race in the Preakness because he'd like the tighter turns. From what I understand, the dimensions of CD and Pimlico at the rail are exactly the same. Pimlico's track isn't as wide, which is why the field is limited to 14, but along the rail they're exactly the same.

  2. Steve, it is surprising, but it seems that the addition or deduction of those 6 or 7 seconds really makes or breaks a horse. The width probably affects the tightness in some way, because I don't really think that so many knowledgeable racing figures would say that the turns were tighter if they really weren't. If this were true, that and the shorter stretch woul be extremely conductive to D'Funnybone, since he would be able to spurt away on the turn, then not have to last quite as long as he would at CD or Belmont. Though, as I said, I belive his ability to rate off the slower paces that he is used to is key for him. If he can he could be a huge freak, but I doubt that will happen.

  3. I tend to think D’Funnybone could get the 1 ¼ of the Derby, he hasn’t shown any distance limitations so far, is perfect on dirt and his only loss came in a horrible synthetic showing. I don’t think he could win at the classic distance against a colt like Lookin At Lucky but he could probably give this crop a good run for their money. You are definitely right when you say that getting him to rate off the pace is most likely the key to him getting a distance race. He seems like smart horse and always looks relaxed when he runs, so who knows, maybe he’ll show up if they ever try him long.