As the phrase suggests, Funny Duck took to the rain-soaked Churchill Downs dirt track Saturday just like a duck to water, winning the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile by 4 3/4 lengths. At 39-1, the son of Disorted Humor surprised in his second graded stakes run, having broken his maiden less than three months ago. Rider Brian Hernandez, Jr. kept the chestnut off the early pace and made a move in the two path going into the final turn, chipping away at the lead held by New York Central and prevailing at the wire.
New York Central finished second, with Givemeaminit third. Sporting Chance was fourth.
George “Rusty” Arnold II trains the colt for owner Calumet Farm. Funny Duck came to the race off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland last month.
Funny Duck was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock and was sold at OBS March by Kirkwood Stables for $110,000.
At 39-1, the winner paid $81.40 to win, followed by 31-1 longshot New York Central, and 21-1 Givemeaminit. The exacta produced a payout of $1,753.60 for $2, the .50 trifecta returned $8569.25, and the superfecta paid a whopping $74,919.60 for $1.
See the full chart here.
PAT DAY MILE QUOTES
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of Funny Duck, winner) – “We had a great trip. We just went out there. There was no pressure with the horse. He stumbled a bit leaving there. I think it worked to his advantage because when he got up he turned off for me. We were able to find a nice smooth rail trip and had to go around only one horse. He traveled like a winner the whole way. It was a great race for him.
“This is his first time he's run on an off track. He ran first time out on the dirt and then got moved to the grass. He showed improvement on the grass, but today the owners decided they wanted to give him another try on the dirt. It was a brilliant move on their part.”
Rusty Arnold (trainer of Funny Duck, winner) – “Mr. (Brad) Kelley (of Calumet) called and said 'I would like to try this horse on the dirt again.' We were set for running him in a turf race and he said 'No I'd like to try him on the dirt again,' and we said OK, and we tried him on the dirt again. So he gets all the credit because we would have been in the turf race.
“We love the horse, he had really become leaps and bounds better through the winter. His last race (the Transylvania Stakes [GIII]) he had some traffic issues, and we liked the horse but he got good on the turf and some trainers tend to stick with it, and when he said to go to the dirt we did. He had a great work here last week. We do think he likes the mud too, so it worked out great. But I've got to give him all the credit, because we would have been in the other race. It's going to open up a whole lot of races obviously for him now.”
Steve Asmussen (trainer of New York Central, runner-up) –“He ran real well. We felt good. He's worked on and handled an off track real well. He showed a good side of himself. He made a pretty quick move, but the two horse (Lombo) was getting out and I think he wanted to get away from him.”
Corey Lanerie (rider of Givemeaminit, third-place finisher) – “I had a really good trip. My horse handled it (track conditions) fine and I got through inside. I followed the winner on through. We had a good run, we were just third best today.”
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