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Funny Proposition Floors Royal Delta in Fleur de Lis

John C. Oxley’s Funny Proposition sprinted to the early lead and drew away late to upset champion mare Royal Delta by five lengths in Saturday’s $186,375 Fleur De Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (Grade II) on Saturday night at Churchill Downs.
 
The Fleur de Lis, which means “flower of the lily” and honors the symbol in the city of Louisville’s flag, was the first of five graded stakes races run under the lights as part of Churchill Downs’ special “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program.
 
Royal Delta, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (GI) winner who was making her first start since a 10th-place finish in the $5 million Dubai World Cup on March 30, was all the rage before Saturday’s race and was sent to post as the odds-on 1-5 favorite in the field of five fillies and mares. But it was Funny Proposition, who had the last laugh.
 
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Funny Proposition clicked off quarter-mile fractions of :23.30, :46.83, 1:11.62 and 1:36.83. She stopped the teletimer in 1:50.22 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track.
 
The 4-year-old filly trained by Mark Casse returned to stakes company Saturday after an impressive three-length win in a one-mile allowance/optional-claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 17. This was her first stakes triumph.
 
“It’s a very big deal because it puts Funny’s name on the map,” said Norman Casse, the son and assistant trainer to his father Mark. “We beat the best in the country and now we’re going to get some recognition.”
 
As Funny Proposition led the field by as many as 3 ½ lengths after a half-mile, Royal Delta was forwardly placed four-wide and came within reach of Funny Proposition after three-quarters of mile. But as the eventual winner kicked on, Royal Delta could not keep up and drifted in to the rail in mid-stretch to just hold second.
 
“She seemed a little bit more pensive in the paddock than normal,” said Royal Delta’s Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “Maybe it’s just a matter of getting back into action. We’ll see.”
 
Funny Proposition, who carried 117 pounds, paid $13.40 and $4.20 as the 5-1 third betting choice. Royal Delta, the 125-pound high weight ridden by Mike Smith, returned $2.10. She’s All In was another three-quarters of a length back in third and was followed by Ice Cream Silence and Wine Princess.
 
Funny Proposition, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the Distorted Humor mare Humorous Miss, won for the fourth time in nine career starts. The $115,553 winner’s share doubled her earnings to $230,295.
 
She was bred in Kentucky by Russell L. Reineman Stables Inc.
 
FLEUR DE LIS HANDICAP QUOTES
 
Norman Casse, assistant to Mark Casse, trainer of Funny Proposition, winner: “The saying is, ‘It’s nice when a plan comes together.’ We had a plan and it came together the way we thought it would. We thought we would take it to (Royal Delta) right away and she was coming off a layoff. I’ve said this before that we’ve never gotten to run her every three or four weeks where she’s actually getting race fit. She was finally race fit and was working very well. For a long time she had shown she was our best horse and we got to see it today.”
 
Q. Did you really believe going in that you could defeat the two-time champion, Royal Delta? “I would never say that because I have a lot of respect for that mare, especially on this racetrack. But if we were going to get an advantage it was going to be today because she was coming off a layoff and a dull effort in Dubai.
 
"It’s a very big deal because it puts Funny’s name on the map. We beat the best in the country and now we’re going to get some recognition.”
 
Joel Rosario, rider on Funny Proposition, winner: “She’s a good horse and she’s a filly that will take you the whole way. Turning for home, I felt like I had a little bit left and she was able to go on.”
 
Q. Were your instructions to go to the lead? “Yes. That’s what Norman (Casse) told me in the paddock. He told me to take the lead and hope we’ve got something left turning for home. She was able to do it. I was very happy with the trip.”
 
Bill Mott, trainer of Royal Delta, runner-up: “She seemed a little bit more pensive in the paddock than normal. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting back into action. We’ll see.”
 
Mike Smith, rider on Royal Delta, runner-up: “It was her first race back. She shipped to Dubai and came back. I know it worked last year, but sometimes it just takes a little longer. That certainly wasn’t her A-race. She’ll come back and run big.”
 
 

 

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Older Comments about Funny Proposition Floors Royal Delta in Fleur de Lis...

Mike, you put it in proper perspective. It's also important to note that N/A bred horses purchased as yearlings and shipped overseas to race do very well and I'm talking beyond Dancing Brave and Nijinsky. It works the other way to when we look back to Gallant (’57 Belmont winner) and Tommy Lee the ’59 Derby winner.
I have to disagree that the American horses are inferior to the European horses, the average American horse today might be better at shorter distances but our top horses are as good as any in the world. The difference as Euro Trash said is in how they are trained and the difference between American and European racing. You would think that a horse race would be the same everywhere, but American racing with dirt surface and the importance of early speed is different than racing in other parts of the world where usually the fastest part of the race is at the end. This makes it very difficult for horses from the US to win major European races and it is even more impressive when European horses ship over to win in the United States like Arazi and Arcangues in the Breeders Cup.
Thank you icyhotboo for saying that about the performances of those horses at Santa Anita. I also have to disagree with a statement that rafirox makes about Wise Dan or Point of Entry being competitive. If they were allowed to adapt, I think they would certainly be competitive. They have the talent. But they are trained to run an American race, and in Europe that would be a disaster in most cases. I don't discount American talent.
The best turf horses should be in the rest of the world, not North America because that's all they run on. The best dirt horses should be in North America because dirt is the primary racing surface. To say one is inferior to another isn't logical because they never meet on a neutral running surface. Even when Santa Anita was synthetic it played more to turf horses than dirt horses. The proof of that statement being in the race shapes being like those run on turf rather that dirt. To further add to that Santa Anita turf is possibly the hardest surface anywhere and is run like a race run on dirt. To judge the performance of Excalibration, Moonlight Cloud, or St. Nicholas Abbey off 2012 performances is as unfair as judging Animal Kingdom's 2013 performance at Ascot. I'm going from memory so if the grammar police/name police are out don't bother, this is a horse racing site not a school of grammar.
the BUTE promotes bleeding. Much of the bleeding is then CAUSED by one medication only to be covered by another. RIDICULOUS
Not that I don't want another voice against the overuse of Salix, but I'd have to look into the claim that it promotes bleeding, because I have not read that before. Maybe it is counter-indicated for use with other medications? Also, I'd still like to believe that America has the best dirt horses, but then that may just be some kind of national pride or something and not statistically correct. I don't think any problems due to overuse of medications can't eventually be turned around. That's my positive outlook. Of course, I'm not in a position to help with the necessary changes.
Forgot Japan^^^ Orfevere, Gentildonna, etc. U.S.A's best horses (Wise Dan and a healthy Point of Entry) would hardly contend over European turf. The tracks are much different, and unlike Americans, Euro's travel here and still contend, wWITHOUT home courtt advantage.
So many issues with American racing nowadays. 1) Lasix, the medication, PROMOTES bleeding. While I am not very educated on this matter, I have read other poster's comments and Lasix seems to be a waste. 2) Lack of Stamina (a) Perhaps the influx in Quarter Horse trainers in America have changed the training strategy partially. (b) Training, we work too much rather than race to stay fit. The European racehorses are much more fit as opposed to us. (c) American breeders have lost any interest in a classical sire in whom which passes down legit endurance. Instead, the speedy and precious racehorses are the ones getting mares. We only had a couple classic sires- A.P Indy and Dynaformer. The latter deceased and the former pensioned. 3) Unsoundness. Perhaps by the inbreeding and training, trainers and owners now enjoy six weeks in between races. Back in my day, horses would run every other week. Long careers are amiss and fans never get to see horses for more than a couple seasons with only 6-8 starts a year. Not to mention idiots are taking over the tracks, the public has little interest in the track, and there are no route races. The best horses in the world are NOT in America. I'm American, but that doesn't mean I don't have the logic to comprehend information with no bias. American horses are not the caliber of Ireland, England or France. Maybe there as good as Austrlia.
Oxley is DEEP in good horses
*AK Wasn't training to go 5f etc...
Euro's train on the gallops in very stress free and relaxed enviroments, compared to the way North Americans train their horses. In NA they are stabled at the track , work out at the track and that is all they deal with until they are turned out for injury, or for a break. The Gallop's here are challenging but straight forward and the horses level of fitness is greatly superior. Look at the transition AK went through when they got him to newmarket and on the gallop's. He became fitter, and he was in a much more relaxed enviroment. He was training to go 1:00 for 5 f, or 47 and change for 4f. He was sent up the gallop's t a good pace and it was continous, plus teahing him how to rate over a straight gallop etc etc. In australia they will walk them down to the ocean on the beach( see Black Caviar photo's on google). In the end you wind up with more relaxed, and fitter horses long term IMO....
No ; it depends on what you deem the par to be. I think Americans and Europeans breed and train and own to achieve two very different things
He said it on another thread sorry. I like how you ignored the rest of my previous comment.....
ahh I see. So horses who ship from other countries don't matter. Well Rafirox has already stated the obvious then, the american horses are not up to par.
OTG, it isn't spot on because St. Nicholas Abbey is not from America, it's irrelevant
SNA has more miles and is a full racing year older then animal kingdom. Quality horses can bounce back and still run their A game regardless of circumstances. Ok you want another horse?. How about last year a 6 year old Gelding named Cirrus Des Aigles who won in Dubai Last year and then won a GR1 in France his next start.
Shea Shea lost by next to nothing at ascot, he fired his race, so no ill effects. don't dismiss my st.nicholas abbey comparison because it is spot on. They both shipped to England, and Ireland after Dubai and St.Nicholas Abbey ran two weeks sooner in his come back after dubai. YES HE RACED one time after dubai and won, so I am not sure what you are talking about in that respect. Not to mention SNA beat far superior horses then what Animal Kingdom faced in the Queen anne. You can chalk up training, surface switch as excuses...poor excuses. Last Time I checked animal kingdom has not run on dirt since 2011. He ran on turf in his comeback race last year, Turf in the Breeders cup, turf at Gulfstream vs POE, and Synthetics at Meydan which is not a huge transition from turf.
Thanks for listing one horse who has showed that he can continue racing on turf. He did not undergo a surface switch, and has been to Dubai many times. And PS: He didn't win his first time coming back from Dubai either. St. Nicholas Abbey also undergoes harder training routines that resemble those of the horses at Meydan, which are far different from American methods. I can be as annoying as you, though; look at Shea Shea
St.Nicholas Abbey showed no ill effects, and the Dubai curse did not get him.
"The Dubai Curse"

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