by Ryan Martin
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Gatsas Thoroughbreds, R. A. Hill Stable and Swick Stable's Funny Guy once again proved that despite his name, he is all business, tracking just off the pace and pouncing at the right time to collect a fourth stakes triumph in Friday's 10th running of the $85,000 John Morrissey going seven furlongs for state-breds at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by John Terranova, the bay colt is now unbeaten in both of his 2020 starts and showed up to the Morrissey off a triumph going a one-turn mile in the Commentator against fellow New York-breds on June 12 at Belmont Park, where he registered a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.
Funny Guy broke on top from post 5. Amundson, to his inside, was sent by jockey Jose Ortiz and assumed command setting an opening quarter-mile in 23.06 seconds and a half-mile in 46.29 over a fast main track.
Around the far turn, Funny Guy began inching his way closer to the front under no urging from jockey Joel Rosario as Amundson began dropping out of contention.
Funny Guy established clear command past the quarter pole with My Boy Tate and T Loves a Fight attempting a confrontation 1 ½ lengths back. By the final furlong marker, Rosario had Funny Guy all wrapped up as he strolled home under a hand ride to win by two lengths in a final time of 1:22.08.
T Loves a Fight finished a half-length ahead of My Boy Tate for second.
Rosario picked up a fifth stakes win of the meet aboard Funny Guy, who won last year's Albany going 1 1/8 miles at the Spa. A stakes winner at all three NYRA tracks, Funny Guy also won the Times Square division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series last April at Aqueduct.
"He broke very sharp," Rosario said. "It looked like there was not going to be a lot of speed in the race, maybe one horse. He was there and I just let him find his stride. He was going perfect and turning for home he just opened up. It was a good performance. It was his race."
Terranova, who was considering running Funny Guy in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney, opted to keep him against New York-breds and praised the horse for his versatility from a distance standpoint.
"We kind of went back and forth on it. I know it's a small field but obviously real steep in talent. I just thought one more race," said Terranova, who secured the late double with Adios Amigos in the nightcap. "I know this colt can win open company. 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. I think there's a big one down the road for him, hopefully."
Funny Guy could make his next start in the ten-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward on September 5 at the Spa. His only previous effort against graded stakes company was in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby on September 29 at Remington Park, where he finished sixth.
"A race like the Woodward could be in our sights," Terranova said. "A lot of these good handicap horses are running this weekend, so I don't know what will come back in there, even though it's a mile and a quarter. He's bred to do it and he can turn it on and shut it off whenever you want. It might be something interesting to think about. We'll see how he comes back and see what he tells us."
Funny Guy provided his sire Big Brown with a second stakes winner this meet. On Sunday afternoon, the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner's progeny Somelikeithotbrown won the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch over the inner turf.
Returning $6.40 as the second choice, the consistent Funny Guy banked $46,750 in victory while pushing his lifetime earnings over the half-million mark to $505,145. His record now stands at 12-5-4-0.
Bankit, Celtic Chaos, Pat On the Back and Amundson completed the order of finish. Kazmania and Freaky Styley were scratched.
The John Morrissey pays homage to the champion boxer and gambler who created Saratoga Race Course in 1863 with the help of William Travers, John Hunter and Leonard Jerome.
Live racing returns on Friday with a 10-race card which features the $100,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies going 5 ½ furlongs over the Mellon turf course. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.