Could a Sprinter Win Champion 3YO?

Of all the good racing this weekend, including the Hollywood Gold Cup, Man o' War, and Princess Rooney (all grade I), one of the races I will most look forward to is the Carry Back Stakes at Calder. Though it only a grade III sprint with a short field of five, the headliner is D' Funnybone, who is quickly emerging into a superstar.

D' Funnybone has already won five graded stakes in nine starts and earned over $600,000. Purchased privately by the sharp-eyed Paul Pompa Jr., the same guy who bought Big Brown as a 2-year-old and later campaigned him in partnership to win two legs of the 2008 Triple Crown, D' Funnybone will be the odds-on favorite to win the Carry Back, which could already be his fourth graded stakes victory of the season.

Though D' Funnybone is not yet a grade I winner and all of his wins have come at seven furlongs or less, I do not think it is out of the realm of possibility that he could become the first sprinter to be named champion 3-year-old male. I know it's a longshot, but hear me out.

Assuming he wins the Carry Back for his fourth graded win of the year (his other graded wins have come in the Hutcheson, Swale, and Woody Stephens-all grade II), D' Funnybone would move on to Saratoga. There, according to Pompa, he will go for his grade I in the King's Bishop, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds on Aug. 28.

After that he could go to the grade I Vosburgh at Belmont in September or just go straight to the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Churchill in November. If--and it is a large if--D' Funnybone could sweep the board, that would complete a phenomenal season in which he would have won six of seven or seven of eight races, including two or three in grade I company. That would be an extraordinary year by any standards.

Throughout history, the champion 3-year-old male has gone to horses that have won Triple Crown races or races at classic distances. As far as I know, there has never been a sprinter that has been named champion 3-year-old male, certainly not since the Eclipse Awards began in 1971 and there has been a seperate category for champion sprinters. But this is an unusual season with no stand out 3-year-old. And for that reason there is a chance it could happen.

For D' Funnybone to pull of the unlikely victory, not only must he win the aforementioned races, but he needs a lot of other things to happen. First of all, Super Saver, Lookin at Lucky, and Drosselmeyer cannot win any of the summer classics or a BC race. If that happens, he has no chance.

But let's say a horse other than those three wins the Haskell, and then a different horse wins the Travers. That is not an impossible task considering there are some very good, late-blooming 3YOs (First Dude, Fly Down, Ice Box, Winslow Homer, Concord Point, Paddy O'Prado, Game On Dude, Afleet Express, Trappe Shot, etc.) .

And now let's assume no 3YO wins the BC Classic, which is probably an even better possibility. What do we have left? We have a nearly completed season with still no stand out sophomore. No stand out except for D' Funnybone.

It could happen. Remember, it was just last year that Gio Ponti won dual Eclipse Awards, including champion older horse which is rarely given to a turf runner. Could D' Funnybone be champion sprinter and champion 3YO?

66 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Robert

Not going to happen.  You are right, it could happen, but it won't.  Too many races left for Super Saver and Luckin at Lucky to win that will hold more water than sprint races.  And as to your thought of a 3 year old winning the Breeders Cup Classic.....FAT CHANCE !!!  Zenyatta is going to repeat!!

07 Jul 2010 1:04 PM
phbigbrown

the sprint winner will be MAJESTICPERFECTION

07 Jul 2010 1:07 PM
Phar Lap

Only thing he's not the best 3yo sprinter! There is an Ark-bred gelding- Comedero!!

07 Jul 2010 1:09 PM
Draynay

Jason, I think you are right on target with D'Funnybone.  Super Saver has no real shot of winning another race and the only horse that could spoil everything for him at this point would be a Haskell victory and maybe one other victory by LAL.  I guess it depends if Noble's Promis and First Dude can pick up the remaining 3 year old races.  D'Funnybone is a monster. Bribon has proven himself and is a G1 winner.  We shall see.  

07 Jul 2010 1:10 PM
Virgil Fox

If things were to unfold as you say he should without question be a finalist and probably a deserving winner.

Personally, I would vote for him in your scenario.

However, its difficult to say how the voters will act.  As you mentioned, the award has usually gone to a classic winner or ‘classic’ distance winner.

The King’s Bishop and the Vosburgh should make him a finalist in both categories.

Add a win in the BC Sprint and that should lock up the Sprint Championship.

Woe is me.  When will my Fabulous Strike get his day in the sun.

- Peace

07 Jul 2010 1:24 PM
Ted from LA

Caracortado will be champion 3 year-old.  My palmist told me so.

07 Jul 2010 1:39 PM
SusanW

D'Funnybone is one of my favorite horses, but just in shock and awe that I actually agree with Draynay. It's kind of left me speechless.

07 Jul 2010 1:46 PM
Vic S

D'Funnybone won't be Champ three year old....Lucky. nough said

07 Jul 2010 2:24 PM
Howard B

remember XTRA HEAT, she won championship honors and was a sprinter too, It can happen

07 Jul 2010 2:25 PM
Bill Daly

I'm trying to remember the last sprinter who was seriously considered for HOY. Maybe Favorite Trick? Very rare to deserve serious consideration when you're a sprinter. It's ironic that some of our best studs are sprinters [Speightstown,Danzig,Elusive Quality, etc.], but in their racing careers they received no consideration, albeit Danzig didn't race very long before being retired. Ghostzapper was considered a sprinter for part of his career, until he demonstrated he didn't mind more distance. Just cannot recall any sprinter having much of a chance in HOY voting.

07 Jul 2010 2:36 PM
stretchrun

@ Virgil--I'm a fan of Fabulous Strike too and would LOVE to see him coming roaring back this fall. His owner sent a mare to Kodiak Kowboy this spring and has yet to break then news to the gelding :)

07 Jul 2010 2:45 PM
Zookeeper

Jason,

Under the scenario you propose I can see a 3yr old sprinter winning a double award. So far, the 3yr old division seems to be evenly matched but there is still a lot of racing to be done and it will be very interesting to see all these talented horses sort themselves out.

The Sprinters are very exciting to watch. They run like a bunch of bats out of hell and scare the heck out of me. I think it would be great to see one of them win the 3yr old award. This could be the year.

07 Jul 2010 2:53 PM
joe c.

In the year of Charismatic, who suddenly burst upon the scene and dramatically left, there was consideration of the 4-year old (correct me if I'm wrong) Artax for HOY.  None of these 3-year olds has accomplished what Charismatic did, mid-April to early June, the Lexington to the Belmont.  And what if Drosselmeyer takes the Jim Dandy and/or Travers followed by the Jockey Club?  Another Summer Bird.

07 Jul 2010 3:16 PM
Billy's Empire

Ok, So since this was posted, I wanted to see who would of even come close to the Eclipse Award for top 3yo male as a sprinter, and only had to go back a few years to find one deserving. Lost in the Fog.

This horse was spectacular. Not only did he win the King Bishop, he also won the Swale, Bay Shore, Riva Ridge, and Carry Back. He raced, in his 3yo campain, in Fla 3 times, NY 4 times, and Cali twice. He won his first 10 races before being unplaced in the BC Sprint. He did go on to win the Eclispe for top sprinter, but lost the 3yo male title to Afleet Alex.

So, he won all of the races that Jason mentions above, but did not win the 3yo Eclipse. With that said, we have no Afleet Alex this year, a dual winner of Triple Crown races in the Preakness and Belmont, and no real standout 3yo. So if all goes as planned for the Bone, I see a very legitamate chance of him winning the 3yo Eclipse award unless some other 3yo (First Dude, LAL, SS) wins the Summer Classics. I am looking forward to a good summer of racing.

RIP Lost in the FOG.

Lost in the Fog's Motto:

Mountain's, What Mountain's?????

07 Jul 2010 3:27 PM
Dionisio Romano

Because of the dearth of quality horses this year we're all looking for something that isn't there.  Lookin At Lucky was "unlucky" in the Kentucky Derby or we wouldn't be having this discussion.  D'Funnybone?  Nice little horse...but that's all.  Let's all get our heads out of our respective hiding places.

07 Jul 2010 3:27 PM
Draynay

SusanW, down in the places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall- you need me on that wall.  Don't feel bad Susan sooner or later everyone agrees with me you're just another in a long long list that have succumb to the brilliance of Draynay.

07 Jul 2010 3:50 PM
Billy's Empire

What also is shocking to me, is that Lost in the Fog had one vote for Horse of the Year, but no votes for 3yo Male. All of the votes went to Afleet Alex and 6 to Flower Alley. That is a bit suprising that no one voted for the spriter out of 250 plus votes.... WOW I guess being a sprinter is like synthetics, NO RESPECT!!

07 Jul 2010 3:54 PM
Camel clutch

I wouldn't be surprised,just disappointed.

draynay aka- Vain Smurf,

you're so full of it that the whites of your eyes are a murky brown.

No,really.

07 Jul 2010 4:58 PM
Kit J

Camel that is about the funniest thing I've seen.

He's surely not winning Miss Congeniality or Most Popular is he?

07 Jul 2010 5:35 PM
Footlick

I think if any one of the classic winners wins one or two more gr 1's they will be the champ.  A sprinter needs to be excessively brilliant to be considered over that.  D'Funnybone is a nice horse and possibly a superior sprinter, but he does not have the brilliance that I think he would need to be voted champion 3 yr old.

07 Jul 2010 6:19 PM
LAZMANNICK

Bill Daly

I think you have to go  all the way back to Forego in 1974 to see the last sprinter that was also HOY.  Ack Ack in 1971 and Dr, Fager in 1968 also accomplished the feat.  In those years they were also the older male horse champions

07 Jul 2010 6:51 PM
Paula Higgins

Hmm.... not impossible but not likely. I think it is more likely Looking At Lucky or as soemone said, a Classic winner who wins a Grade I. But I like D'Funnybone too. He is a very nice horse and I am always in his corner.

07 Jul 2010 6:55 PM
Draynay

Bribon is training towards one thing and one thing only.  The Breeders Cup Sprint Title.  His style is perfect for 6 furlongs and his class is unmatched.  As good as D'Funnybone is Bribon is just a little older and a little wiser.  I don't normally give out the BC winners so early but I am in a good mood today.  You can all thank me later.

07 Jul 2010 7:01 PM
Footlick

And I might actually take Conveyance over D'Funnybone, but I suspect he will be going for the Dirt Mile

07 Jul 2010 7:17 PM
Footlick

Bribon is a solid horse and with all the speed usually associated with the BC Sprint has a great running style.  Good call Dray.  

07 Jul 2010 7:33 PM
GioPonti

It won't happen. Gio Ponti also isn't just a turf horse, he got second in the BC Classic to Zenyatta so he didn't solely win Older Horse Champion because of his turf credentials

07 Jul 2010 7:51 PM
Jason Shandler

Gio: Sorry to disappoint you but horses dont win any points for second place finishes in the Eclipse Award voting. His 2nd in the Classic had no bearing at all in his dual Eclipse Award. He won the older male award in large part because nobody else had the credentials.

07 Jul 2010 9:34 PM
Ivan

D' Funnybone can understandingly be 3 yr old champ, much more with this very weak 3 year old crop, if he wins the BC Sprint, and maybe one G1. However, I bet that Trappe Shot will give him a run for his money, and who knows, if he can route, he can be a candidate for 3 year old champ. Still four months to go for he Breeders Cup, lots can happen.

07 Jul 2010 10:24 PM
Bill Daly

Lazmannick, thanks for the info about those three immortal horses. My memory isn't what it used to be, but your mention of those names sure brings back some vivid memories. Of all of the ones you mentioned, Forego is one horse I would bet most people don't remember for his sprinting ability, but he certainly was one great sprinter at 7 furlongs.  I believe his Vosburgh won him that award too many years ago.  What a monster he was!

07 Jul 2010 10:32 PM
John T

I don.t know if D,Funnybone is good enough to be horse of the year,but he is one of those horses

you our glad to have around when there is no outstanding 3 year old.

07 Jul 2010 11:05 PM
Zookeeper

I think Jason was talking about 3yr old Champion and Sprint Champion, not Horse of the Year.

07 Jul 2010 11:24 PM
John T

It,s ok Zookeeper I purposely wrote the article up like that to see who would be the first to chime in about it,concratulations,you are the lucky winner.

08 Jul 2010 12:01 AM
jayjay

With that scenario yeah, it's very possible but I don't think that scenario will play out.  Like you said, it's a very big IF and it will depend on other colts losing their races.  Now that you mentioned it though, I'm kinda hoping that it does happen lol.  If none of the 3 TC winners win any of their races, then all Looking At Lucky needs to do is to hit the board in the Haskell and the Travers and I think he will win the championship.  I think he's ahead on everyone at this point with his win in the Rebel and the Preakness.  The other two TC winners didn't have any other win other than the TC races.   Just realized though that that is also a big "IF" if LAL can hit the board in the Haskell and Travers lol.  Now I'm getting a headache.

08 Jul 2010 12:26 AM
Matthew W

Jason--good read! Not too likely a three year old will beat his/her elders this year--enter D'Funnybone, who'll have as good a chance as any in the sprint--for that matter, Sidney's Candy, if they go that way, could give D'Funny some company in the sprint--of course, Bribon looked lights out the other day--made a slow track look fast....

08 Jul 2010 12:42 AM
Matthew W

Was it Housebuster, several years ago, who had won so many sprints in a row he was being considered for HOY--then lost in the Breeders Cup?

08 Jul 2010 12:46 AM
kat

I would be happy if everything set up nicely for D'Funnybone, but I'm holding out for Trappe Shot :) His allowance race the same day D'Funnybone won the Woody blew me away :)

08 Jul 2010 1:15 AM
Sarah

You know, I had not really thought about it, but I can totally see D'Funnybone being Champion 3yo.  I mean, the horses that ran in this year's Triple Crown were talented, no doubt, but unlike last year (kind of), and the year before, there really weren't any that were the big super stars.  Lookin' at Lucky still has a shot, I think, but Super Saver came totally out of nowhere, and while his story was good, he didn't reinforce it in the Preakness.  I think it is kind of the same issue with Drosselmeyer.  Personally, I think D'Funnybone might have a chance at Champion 3yo!  Again, this is all my opinion -- I don't mean to contradict any one.  Just my personal thoughts. :)

 This was an interesting topic to bring up though!  Thanks!  

08 Jul 2010 7:27 AM
Slew

With such talented Classic winners, I doubt D'Funnybone will take Champion 3 year old.  Sprint...maybe.  Aren't they turning Backtalk into a sprinter?  Heck..we have quite a few months left; I'll wait, watch, and see.

08 Jul 2010 8:19 AM
Hopalong

Yes, Trappe Shot in the 11th race at Monmouth Saturday.

08 Jul 2010 11:57 AM
It aint easy being the truth!

This is all a moot point because afleet express is a star in the making. He is a freight train and has all the tools needed to become a freak of nature. He is going to run wild his next race and will be the 3 year old champ

. .....They should play emenim when he comes out of the paddock....."The Champ is here, The champ is here." I am sure no one has any clue what I am talking about but its funny!

08 Jul 2010 12:14 PM
Trebloc

D'Funnybone will not win three year old champion.  Super Saver is training great and will win the Haskell. Paddy O'Prado is the one horse that an excellent chance, because he should dominate the turf races. I did see that LAL is back on the work tab, but haven't heard how he came out after suffering from a head cold. Jason, what have you heard?  

08 Jul 2010 12:17 PM
Ted from LA

My lawyer recommends that you all stop referring to Lookin at Lucky as LAL, as I have the copyright on the "LA" portion of the LAL.  Please cease and desist.  It makes it harder for me to skim these posts.  Adopt a greyhound.  The only bad thing about owning one is they make you look fat.

08 Jul 2010 2:07 PM
Billy's Empire

Greg J, Nicanor is running this weekend in Delaware. You gonna make the trip?

08 Jul 2010 2:28 PM
Draynay

Yep ! That's right Super Saver will win the Haskell and Mine That Bird will whip Goldikova in the turf mile.

Jason, back to real problems.  Can you help me?  I bought tickets for me and all the Bobble Head Horses to fly to Saratoga to visit the beautiful track.  Everyone was excited and couldn't wait to go but Zenyatta wouldn't get on the plane.  She was off on the tarmac walking in circles repeating over and over again I'm a excellent driver, excellent driver. 10 minutes to Wapner uh oh.

08 Jul 2010 2:45 PM
jayjay

My apologies Ted, please don't sue me.  The horse that comes in 2nd to Lookin' AL (that's for you Ted) I believe is Drosselmeyer, his win in the Belmont seems to a signal to him finally blossoming.  With how the 3 yr olds developed last year, I will follow that trend where the winner of the Belmont developed nicely and dominated the rest of the 3 yr olds.  The only thing about Dross is the injury, hope it's gone forever.

At this point, it's Lookin' AL then Dross then Supersaver for me.  Let's see how the Dandy, Haskell and Travers pan out, it's pretty exciting just thinking about it.

08 Jul 2010 4:27 PM
Footlick

Dray must be confusing Zenyatta's bobblehead with Quality Road's

08 Jul 2010 7:51 PM
sodapopkid

She was off on the tarmac walking in circles repeating over and over again I'm a excellent driver, excellent driver. 10 minutes to Wapner uh oh

Re:  Is this suppose to make sense?

Please leave the 'JacksonExcuseJuice' alone Dray,  Man, you are suffering from some strange stuff.

08 Jul 2010 8:25 PM
sodapopkid

Dray, the bobbleheads said they didnt want to play with Rachel A. anymore, They say she wimps out when the older girls want to run and play, She is intimadated by them....All they have to do is get up beside her and look her in the eye, She then wimps out.

So now, the older girl bobbleheads make RA play with the weaker group of girls that play in the claimer games.  Not the big girl games anymore.

08 Jul 2010 8:38 PM
Zookeeper

sodapopkid,

Obviously you've never seen "Rain Man".

Draynay's and Footlick's comments had me rolling on the floor. LOL!

08 Jul 2010 8:44 PM
jayjay

Dray : QR was stuck in the gate and was holding up the plane, Zenyatta was running around in circles against the rest of the bobbleheads playing catch me.  BTW, congrats on your new job being the baggage handler / escort for Zenyatta.  I knew you were a closet Zenyatta lover.  I'll send an email to the Mosses to make sure they give you a bonus.  Just remember, she only drinks Guinness.  Keep her away from QR when nearing any gate, he so much throws a kick towards her, she'll run over him, don't want the boy to get hurt.

08 Jul 2010 9:28 PM
Kit J

sodapopkid, that's from the movie Rain Man 1988.

I think I read that someone said once that Draynay was living in the Eighties.

How does it feel to be so uncool and old Draynay? Welcome to the world of the aged and unhip. where a hip replacement is as close to anything related to hip as any of us would be.

08 Jul 2010 10:14 PM
LAZMANNICK

Sodapopkid

Our Draynay is referring to his favorite movie Rainman starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.  Draynay had a bit part and played the stange looking dude back at the aslym saying I love Zenyatta because she's so awesome, over and over again until he finally got on everyone's nerves and they had to lock him up in a rubber room.

08 Jul 2010 10:39 PM
LDP

As of now, I would say D'Funnybone leads the division. There was no clear standout during the Triple Crown, nor the preps. LAL, with a little more luck, could've been heading the division, but what is done is done.

If D'Funnybone were to complete without another loss, I don't see why he would not at leat be considered for champion male 3yr old. He would have a total of seven graded stakes, four graded two, three of them grade one, and one of the grade ones a BCS win.

If a star emerges in the classic part of the three year old division, and ends up sweeping the Haskell, Travers, and JCGC, similar to what SB did last year, I can see why D'Funnybone would be pushed out of the picture. However, I doubt we will see another SB breakout.

The only horse that could unseat D'Funnybone right now is LAL. This is if nobody else steps up of course. LAL already has his grade one win this year, and in a Classic, and his Rebel Stakes came against the creme of this crop. A win in even two of the stakes I listed above would push him even if not a little above D'Funnybone.

09 Jul 2010 7:30 AM
Ripvanwinkle

What does Zenyatta and the G2 soon to be allowance running filly have to with this blog??

Geez.

09 Jul 2010 11:20 AM
It aint easy being the truth!

RIP I agree it always comes down to the filly and the mare. Cant wait for some late summer racing. Afleet express is a monster and can wait for him to clean house. The horse to keep an eye on is drosselmessyer.

09 Jul 2010 12:34 PM
sodapopkid

No, I have never seen 'Rain Man'.

09 Jul 2010 4:20 PM
JerseyBoy

When is the handicapped legend  telling the truth?

(A) When he writes that he bet $100 on Super Saver to win the Kentucky Derby?

or

(B) When he says he believes Super Saver will not win another race this year?

10 Jul 2010 7:33 AM
thomas

no HOTY for d'funnybone. jeff siegel does it again

10 Jul 2010 4:51 PM
LAZMANNICK

I guess we can say that the 3 y-o division is wide open again, not that it hasn't been despite D'Funnybone.  He had no escuse today.

10 Jul 2010 4:52 PM
LAZMANNICK

After watching Blind Luck refuse to lose and in the slop (another one of those west coast dandies), maybe she's the best 3 year-old.  I wonder if they would ever consider the Travers?

10 Jul 2010 4:57 PM
dustywhipp

I agree with LAZMANNICK, Blind Luck might be the "it" three-year-old right now...

Opps! They're loading in the Gold Cup right now! Gotta go, :)

10 Jul 2010 7:50 PM
dustywhipp

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnndd.... Awesome Gem wins it! Awesome Race, Awesome Gem! :)

10 Jul 2010 7:58 PM
HollywoodHit

Comedero moves to the head of the 3yo class, males. He has to win the BC Sprint which depends on whether Hollywood Hit runs in the mile.

Same owner, strong entry but HH can win either race.

10 Jul 2010 11:06 PM
Trebloc

If D'Funnybone had won and with Mr. Haskin's blog on Awesome Gem, I would have thought the fix was in.  

11 Jul 2010 6:57 AM
Ranagulzion

Matthew W,

I think you meant Lost In The Fog, the undefeated sprinter that lost the Breeder's Cup sprint, thusly yielding the HOTY title to Saint Liam.  That LITF was a beast but he was suffering from a malignant tumer when he ran in the Breeder's Cup Sprint, that eventually cut his life short.  Housebuster was also a very good sprinter that could stretch out in his time.

12 Jul 2010 5:29 AM
Billy's Empire

So, Drosselmeyer out, D funnybone loses, and we have no clear standout 3yo male. Looks like Lucky and Super Saver are tops of the crop, for now. I hope with Blind Lucks running style, we see her in the Travers. Thought's Jason?

12 Jul 2010 11:45 AM

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