Blindwillie McTell and Funny Guy have traded decisions in two consecutive New York-bred stakes events. They get a rematch here, but with a twist, as both are making their turf debuts.
If the public assesses these two off prior form, Blindwillie McTell (#4) is supposed to be the favorite. He lost to Funny Guy in the slop two back and decisively reversed that decision over fast going in the Mike Lee last time. He never runs a bad race and is versatile enough to set the pace or stalk. I respect this horse, but I’m not convinced that he’s going to be as effective over turf. He was not nearly as impressive as stablemate Newly Minted when they worked in company over this surface last week, and he doesn’t have much pedigree to handle it. It seems as if Linda Rice may just be taking a shot to avoid racing against open company.
I strongly prefer FUNNY GUY (#1). This horse is by Big Brown, who is a decent turf influence, and he is a half-brother to turf-sprint winner Angel Food. He also worked on turf June 16, going in company with older horse All Systems Go. That stablemate was under pressure to keep up with Funny Guy throughout, as the younger horse drew away with his ears pricked in the lane. It seems like he takes to grass very well, and he would be awfully formidable if he’s able to transfer his dirt form to turf. John Terranova doesn’t have great numbers with non-debut runners trying grass for the first time, but he did send out recent winner Dream Friend at a big price.
Funny Guy is my pick, but I would also use Thorny Tale (#5) and Smooth Tales (#3), both of whom have some pedigree for this surface, along with proven turf horse Veterans Beach (#10).
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,3,5,10
Trifecta: 1 with 3,5,10 with 2,3,4,5,8,10