Funny Guy keeps Big Brown hot in John Morrissey

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Funny Guy shortens up from Commentator victory with John Morrissey score. NYRA Photo.

By Melissa Bauer-Herzog/The Saratoga Special

Consistent New York-bred stakes winner Funny Guy continued Big Brown’s successful week at Saratoga Race Course Thursday when providing him a John Morrissey Handicap victory.

Coming four days after Somelikeithotbrown won the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap for the Irish Hills Century-Duchess Views Stallions-based sire, Funny Guy went off as the second choice in the 7-furlong Morrissey. An early leader out of the gate, Funny Guy yielded by a length to odds-on favorite Amundson shortly after they left the chute and settled in second. Racing a few paths off the rail, Funny Guy was attended by T Loves A Fight as Amundson continued his pace-setting duties by nearly a length until midway through the far turn.

With the half run in :46.29, Funny Guy moved up to challenge the frontrunner for the lead. Amundson put up a good fight but yielded just outside the final furlong as Funny Guy made it clear his victory would be no joke.

The 4-year-old colt was left alone by Joel Rosario as he pulled away from the field and won by a wrapped up 2 lengths over T Loves a Fight with My Boy Tate in third.

Trained by John Terranova II for Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Swick Stable, Funny Guy is the second stakes winner in two days for Rosario. It was also the second straight stakes victory for Funny Guy, who beat Grade 1 Whitney runner Mr. Buff last time out in the Commentator.

“It surprised me a little bit that he jumped out to the lead, but he’s a good colt,” said Terranova. “He’s versatile. He’s won at different distances and won on both surfaces and seems to handle any kind of track. Shortening up to seven-eighths was fine. He’s fresh still. He’s been really sharp since the Commentator.

“That was a big race off a long layoff, and he ran like he’s been training. He’s really stepped up as a 4-year-old, gotten a lot stronger, and he’s just got gears. He can turn it on, turn it off, whenever you need him and he’ll wait. He’ll do anything. He’s real kind for a jock to ride and he’s got a lot of heart.”

Funny Guy’s connections wavered between going to the John Morrissey and Saturday’s Whitney, and Terranova said open company is on the radar.

“I know this colt can win open company,” he said. “He’s got a race with his name on it somewhere. I just didn’t want to jump into it too soon. He’s a fresh horse this year, we’ve got the fall and hopefully we continue racing and everything goes well and there will be some spots with him. Distance-wise, he’ll turn it on or turn it off. He’ll do whatever. There’s a big one down the road for him, hopefully.”

Out of five-time stakes winner Heavenly Humor, Funny Guy is one of two stakes winners and eight winners from eight to race out of his dam. Also the dam of last season’s Bertram F. Bongard Stakes second Three Jokers, Heavenly Humor had a New York-bred Overanalyze filly last year and was bred to Hard Spun this season.

Heavenly Humor is herself out of stakes-placed Call From Heaven, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Heavenly Ade and granddam of Grade 3 winner Devil’s Honor with Heavenly Humor’s fourth dam top broodmare and Group 1 Epsom Oaks runner-up Monsoon.

Bred by Hibiscus Stable, Funny Guy was in utero when his breeder bought Heavenly Humor for $25,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga fall mixed sale. Funny Guy was sold for $10,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale then pinhooked for $45,000 at the OBS April 2-year-olds in training sale when purchased by Gatsas Thoroughbreds.

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