Funny Proposition Laughs Home in Fleur de Lis; Royal Delta Second

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Funny Proposition wins the Fleur de Lis H. Funny Proposition wins the Fleur de Lis H.

John C. Oxley’s Funny Proposition sprinted to the early lead and drew away late to upset champion mare Royal Delta by five lengths in Saturday’s $186,375 Fleur De Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (Grade II) on Saturday night at Churchill Downs.

The Fleur de Lis, which means “flower of the lily” and honors the symbol in the city of Louisville’s flag, was the first of five graded stakes races run under the lights as part of Churchill Downs’ special “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program.

Royal Delta, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (GI) winner who was making her first start since a 10th-place finish in the $5 million Dubai World Cup on March 30, was all the rage before Saturday’s race and was sent to post as the odds-on 1-5 favorite in the field of five fillies and mares. But it was Funny Proposition, who had the last laugh.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Funny Proposition clicked off quarter-mile fractions of :23.30, :46.83, 1:11.62 and 1:36.83. She stopped the teletimer in 1:50.22 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track.

The 4-year-old filly trained by Mark Casse returned to stakes company Saturday after an impressive three-length win in a one-mile allowance/optional-claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 17. This was her first stakes triumph.

“It’s a very big deal because it puts Funny’s name on the map,” said Norman Casse, the son and assistant trainer to his father Mark. “We beat the best in the country and now we’re going to get some recognition.”

As Funny Proposition led the field by as many as 3 ½ lengths after a half-mile, Royal Delta was forwardly placed four-wide and came within reach of Funny Proposition after three-quarters of mile. But as the eventual winner kicked on, Royal Delta could not keep up and drifted in to the rail in mid-stretch to just hold second.

“She seemed a little bit more pensive in the paddock than normal,” said Royal Delta’s Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “Maybe it’s just a matter of getting back into action. We’ll see.”

Funny Proposition, who carried 117 pounds, paid $13.40 and $4.20 as the 5-1 third betting choice. Royal Delta, the 125-pound high weight ridden by Mike Smith, returned $2.10. She’s All In was another three-quarters of a length back in third and was followed by Ice Cream Silence and Wine Princess.

Funny Proposition, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro out of the Distorted Humor mare Humorous Miss, won for the fourth time in nine career starts. The $115,553 winner’s share doubled her earnings to $230,295.

She was bred in Kentucky by Russell L. Reineman Stables Inc.

FLEUR DE LIS HANDICAP QUOTES

Norman Casse, assistant to Mark Casse, trainer of Funny Proposition, winner: “The saying is, ‘It’s nice when a plan comes together.’ We had a plan and it came together the way we thought it would. We thought we would take it to (Royal Delta) right away and she was coming off a layoff. I’ve said this before that we’ve never gotten to run her every three or four weeks where she’s actually getting race fit. She was finally race fit and was working very well. For a long time she had shown she was our best horse and we got to see it today.”

Q. Did you really believe going in that you could defeat the two-time champion, Royal Delta? “I would never say that because I have a lot of respect for that mare, especially on this racetrack. But if we were going to get an advantage it was going to be today because she was coming off a layoff and a dull effort in Dubai.

“It’s a very big deal because it puts Funny’s name on the map. We beat the best in the country and now we’re going to get some recognition.”

Joel Rosario, rider on Funny Proposition, winner: “She’s a good horse and she’s a filly that will take you the whole way. Turning for home, I felt like I had a little bit left and she was able to go on.”

Q. Were your instructions to go to the lead? “Yes. That’s what Norman (Casse) told me in the paddock. He told me to take the lead and hope we’ve got something left turning for home. She was able to do it. I was very happy with the trip.”

Bill Mott, trainer of Royal Delta, runner-up: “She seemed a little bit more pensive in the paddock than normal. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting back into action. We’ll see.”

Mike Smith, rider on Royal Delta, runner-up: “It was her first race back. She shipped to Dubai and came back. I know it worked last year, but sometimes it just takes a little longer. That certainly wasn’t her A-race. She’ll come back and run big.”

See the full chart here.

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  • HomeRunHitter

    Well look at the bright side, her owner can always visit the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum

  • Ida Lee

    I have never heard of Funny Proposition and I’m in shock that she beat the great Royal Delta. How can this be? But then I saw daddy is Medaglia d’Oro which makes her a half sister to one Ms. Rachel Alexandra and so now I get it…

    • AngelaFromAbilene

      She is NOT a 1/2 sibling to Rachel Alexandra. [I seem to recall many people over the years, on different blogs, trying to explain that simple fact to you and you just don't grasp it.]

      • Ida Lee

        Who are you? First of all, what blogs are you talking about? The PR is the only blog I read and comment on on a regular basis. On a rare occasion, I get into it with someone commenting on this blog but I don’t remember ever getting into it with someone regarding Medaglia, Rachel and/or Funny, or siblings, whether full or half. So please check to confirm who you’re talking about because it’s not me. I love TBs…that’s why I read this blog…what I’ve learned about breeding and other subjects I’ve learned mainly through reading the PR and the comments of some very knowledgeable people on this site. Now, AngelaFromAbilene, I don’t think I could learn anything from you…you’re obnoxiousness gets in the way. But if someone out there can explain to me why if Medaglia is daddy to both Rachel and Funny, why are they not 1/2 siblings. Thanks.

        • rachel

          Ida Lee, technically you are correct…genetically speakin they are 1/2 sisters, but in the tiny world of TB since a popular stallion ends up with thousands of offaspring they have decided to call only offspring of a mare as any kind of sibling.

          PS don’t let rude people get to you

    • blackcatlover

      She would have to have the same dam to be a half-sister to RA, not the same sire. RA’s dam was Lotta Kim.

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