Funny Moon shrugged off a challenge from the heavy favorite
Seattle Smooth to win the Grade 2, $147,000 Shuvee Handicap for fillies and
mares today at Belmont
Winner of last year’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks,
Funny Moon patiently stalked longshot pacesetter Solo Piano in second through a
half in 48.19 as the field raced into a headwind. With Seattle Smooth making a
three-wide challenge on the far turn, Funny Moon claimed a narrow advantage
approaching the quarter pole and kicked clear in the stretch when put to a
drive to score by 2 ¾ lengths over the 3-5 favorite, who was making her first
start since winning the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap last June.
“It was a nice and easy trip for my filly today,” said
winning jockey Alan Garcia. “She was calm and relaxed in a perfect path, and
turning for home she just took off. I think she’s a better filly than she was
last year; she’s kinder and more professional now.”
Milwaukee Appeal passed a tiring Solo Piano to finish third,
while Don’t Forget Gil trailed throughout to report home last of five. The
final time for one mile over the main track was 1:36.70.
Funny Moon, who is owned by Mrs. C. Wilson McNeely, III,
returned $7.70 for a $2 win wager as the 5-2 second choice and earned $90,000
to boost her bankroll to $379,900. Her record now stands at 5-2-0 from nine
Clement noted how Funny Moon, who was making her first start
since finishing second in her 4-year-old debut behind stablemate Haka in the
Grade 3 Doubledogdare at Keeneland on April 16, has matured following the
conclusion of her sophomore season.
“Hopefully I can keep her sound and well for the Phipps
[Grade 1, June 12] next time,” Clement said. “She’s a top-class filly.
Unfortunately, she’s rather anxious, so sometimes she loses her races
beforehand, but today she was pretty good overall. Without a doubt, she’s better
[behaved] this year.”
Bred in Kentucky
by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald J. Stautberg, Funny Moon is a daughter of Malibu Moon.