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ELMONT, NY – R. A. Hill Stable, Gatsas Stables, and Swick Stable’s Funny Guy was no laughing matter as he scooted up the rail before drawing away late to win Friday’s $125,000 Commentator Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 3 under Joel Rosario at 11/1 odds in the field of nine New York-breds, Funny Guy settled at the back of the pack with Bankit. Up front, Blewitt outgunned the 4/5 favorite Mr. Buff for the lead before posting opening fractions of :22.67 and :45.81.
Mr. Buff gradually inched up alongside Blewitt in the far turn and challenged for the lead at the top of the stretch, while behind them, Bankit and Funny Guy were both rallying from the rear. Bankit went wide in an attempt to circle the field, but Rosario kept Funny Guy along the inside and waited for an opening.
Finding space once straightened for home, Funny Guy charged ahead and took the lead outside the 1 1/16 pole. Confidently ridden once in sole command, the John Terranova II trainee drew off in the late stages to win by 1 1/4 lengths.
Funny Guy completed the 1-mile fast main track event in a final time of 1:34.35.
“Between the 3/8 and the 1/4 pole, I had a problem with the horses in front of me and I had to check him a little bit,” Rosario said. “He was okay with that and was handling everything fine and was able to come up the inside and sustain his run. He kept improving. The further we went, the better he was going.”
Though unable to propel himself off of the turn, Mr. Buff was able to withstand Bankit’s wide rally by a neck to hold second, while Blewitt finished another 1/2-length behind them in fourth. Build to Suit, Pat On the Back, Honor Up, and My Boy Tate completed the order of finish.
Whistling Birds got bumped from both sides as he broke from post 2 and spotted the field a handful of lengths while running slightly erratic. Kendrick Carmouche pulled him up shortly after the start and he was vanned off.
Funny Guy’s win came in his 2020 debut and was his third at the stakes level, all against fellow state-breds. The 4-year-old Big Brown colt improved his record to 11-4-4-0 with $458,395 earned.
“He’s been doing really well and training great,” said Terranova II. “We’ve had him ready for a while now. Of course, we’ve all been delayed coming back, and the race came up a deep field for New York-breds; that was our only maybe concern. As far as his training goes, he’s progressed as a 4-year-old and just gotten stronger and stronger. I was hoping for a big effort and thought we would get it, but it was even sweeter than expected.”
Funny Guy returned $24.40 to win, $7.20 to place, and $4.60 to show. Mr. Buff brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show, while Bankit paid $2.80 to show.
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