By Jon Forbes | 07/12/2012 02:57 PM ET
Trainer Christophe Clement, who in recent years has won major turf races for older horses like the Arlington Million, Beverly D., Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, Man o’ War, Shadwell Turf Mile, Sword Dancer Invitational, and Woodford Reserve Manhattan, continued his strong run with 2-year-olds during the 2012 Belmont spring/summer meet when Funfair debuted a 3 ½-length winner on the inner turf course.
“This is a faster group of 2-year-olds [for me] than usual,” said Clement, who unleashed impressive dirt winner Native One on July 4 and was second on the turf with Apple Cider on June 29. “It’s nice for them to be doing well during this time of the year.”
Funfair demonstrated ample speed herself, dueling with Priscilla Marie, the lone starter with previous racing experience, to the furlong marker before shaking clear of the runner-up while being hand-ridden to the wire. Priscilla Marie was 2 ¾ lengths clear of third-place finisher Colorful Image.
The final time for six furlongs was 1:08.63. Funfair paid $8.80 for a $2 win wager as the 3-1 second choice.
“She showed a lot of speed in the morning,” said Clement of Funfair, a dark bay daughter of More Than Ready. “She was a little bit anxious, a little bit nervous. She came from my assistant at Keeneland, Ben Colebrook, about three weeks ago. She showed good speed over there. She had two dirt works [at Belmont] and behaved very well and was very impressive. We liked her, but we just had a few questions about her mentally.”
Clement is well acquainted with Funfair’s family, as he also trains her half-siblings, both winners on turf. Mosquito, a 4-year-old colt, won a $35,000 NW3L claiming race on June 3 at Belmont. Arc Above, a 3-year-old filly, graduated going 1 ¼ miles on May 27. They all race for owner Dr. Catherine Wills, who with Clement also campaigned Funfair’s winning dam, Fleuron, and Fleuron’s half-brother Dynenver, who won two Grade 3 races on dirt and was second in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup.
“We know the family well and have been lucky in the past with Dynever,” said Clement. “I thought, with [Funfair’s] conformation, that turf was a little bit kinder for her. She’s so fast, I’ll probably keep her going short at the moment. I have no clue where [she’ll make her next start]. We’ll just enjoy this race.”
Horses previously featured in the New York Watch series include 2010 Champion Two-Year-Old Male Uncle Mo, 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly My Miss Aurelia, 2011 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Royal Delta, and Grade 1 winners Boys At Tosconova, J. B.’s Thunder, Winter Memories, Currency Swap, and To Honor and Serve.