Funny Moon recorded her fourth win at Belmont Park May 15, pulling away in the stretch to easily defeat odds-on favorite Seattle Smooth in the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) (VIDEO) under Alan Garcia.
Belmont was also the site of Funny Moon’s biggest victory last July when she scored the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) by a neck. This was the second stakes win of her career. The 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon is trained by Christophe Clement for Mrs. C Wilson McNeely III.
Funny Moon tracked Solo Piano through much of the one-mile Shuvee, racing just off the pacesetter, who set moderate splits of :23.96 and :48.19 under Jose Lezcano. Seattle Smooth, sent off at 3-5 with Jeremy Rose in irons, was also near the front.
Solo Piano, Funny Moon, and Seattle Smooth reached the quarter pole heads apart, but when they straightened away Funny Moon gained command and took a one-length lead into the final furlong. Seattle Smooth chased from the outside, but could not catch the chestnut filly, who hit the wire 2 3/4 lengths in front.
The final time over a fast main track was 1:36.70. Seattle Smooth was 1 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Milwaukee Appeal.
"I told (Garcia), ‘Wherever you are comfortable on the bridle, you’ll be fine, whether that’s on the lead or behind.’ She seems to run better if you can keep her together," Clement said. "She’s a filly going long on dirt; this is wonderful. Hopefully I can keep her sound and well for the (grade I Ogden) Phipps (June 12) next time. She’s a top-class filly."
Funny Moon entered the Shuvee off a runner-up effort in her 2010 debut, the April 16 Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland. In addition to the American Oaks, she also won a pair of allowance contests at Belmont in 2009.
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Stautberg, Funny Moon is out of the Easy Goer mare Fun Crowd. She was a $175,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga 2007 select yearling sale. Improving to 5-2-0 from nine starts, she has now earned $379,900.
The winner paid $7.70, $2.80, and $2.10. The exacta (4-1) returned $13.20 and the trifecta (4-1-3) was $32.60.
Solo Piano was fourth, followed by Don't Forget Gil.