Remarkable 3-year-old sprinter D' Funnybone, entering off an authoritative victory last month, will be an overwhelming favorite in a short field entered for the $200,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. III) July 10 at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Already a five-time graded stakes winner, D’ Funnybone will return to Calder for the first time since finishing runner-up in the Frank Gomez Memorial Stakes, which came last summer and is one of only three defeats for the son of D'wildcat. Paul Pompa Jr. purchased the chestnut colt privately shortly after that race and he has been unstoppable ever since.
A field of five was drawn for the six-furlong Carry Back, one of four graded stakes on Calder’s Summit of Speed program. One race prior to the Carry Back is the $150,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies going the same distance. Eight were entered for that race, led by Buckleupbuttercup.
D’ Funnybone will likely go off as the odds-on choice in the Carry Back. The Rick Dutrow Jr. trainee has won three of four starts this season beginning with the Hutcheson (gr. II) in February and Swale (gr. II) in March—both at Gulfstream Park. Though he faltered in the one-mile Withers (gr. III) in April at Aqueduct, D’ Funnybone rebounded nicely in the June 5 Woody Stephens (gr. II) at Belmont, taking over on the turn and drawing off to win by more than three lengths under Edgar Prado.
As a juvenile D’ Funnybone also won a pair of grade II stakes, part of his 6-1-0 record from nine starts. He broke his maiden in his debut on the Calder slop by 7 1/4 lengths in May 2009.
Prado will again be aboard D’ Funnybone, who will break from post 2 and carry top weight of 122 pounds. He was bred in Florida by Harold Plumley.
Of D’Funnybone’s four challengers, trainer Marty Wolfson has three. The one with the best credentials is Gary Barber’s Coffee Boy, who enters of a victory in the six-furlong Unbridled Stakes June 12 at Calder. The son of Yonaguska, who was unraced as a 2-year-old, has won two of four starts this season.
Avalon Farms’ Buckleupbuttercup will carry top weight of 119 pounds in the Azalea based on her decisive win in the Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) May 1 at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Najran has posted four wins in eight starts. She was fifth in her most recent outing, the grade I Acorn Stakes at Belmont June 5. Julien Leparoux will ride for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
$150,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:17 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Rapport (KY), R Albarado, 115, B Baffert
2. Nicky Boy (CA), V Espinoza, 115, J Maldonado
3. Yournotthebossofme (KY), E O Nunez, 115, C J Stewart
4. Hot Hot Mama (KY), L Saez, 115, J D Braddy
5. Buckleupbuttercup (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, E Kenneally
6. Bronx City Girl (KY), E Trujillo, 115, M D Wolfson
7. Joanie's Catch (FL), J C Leyva, 115, B R Rose
8. Pica Slew (FL), M R Cruz, 119, J G Calascibetta
$200,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:45 p.m.), 3YO, 6 Furlongs, (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Coffee Boy (FL), 3/C L J V Bridgmohan, 119, M D Wolfson
2. D' Funnybone (FL), 3/C L E S Prado, 122, R E Dutrow Jr.
3. Bernie the Maestro (FL), 3/G L E Coa, 117, M W Wolfson
4. Dream of Atlantis (FL), 3/C L E Trujillo, 115, P Gulyas
5. Peace At Dawn (FL), 3/C L K J Desormeaux, 115, M W Wolfson