05/09/2011 12:56PM

Belmont: Graded quality in overnight stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. – It isn’t often when a $60,000 stakes race can upstage one that is worth $100,000, but such is the case Wednesday at Belmont Park, where there is a rare midweek stakes doubleheader.

The $60,000 Waldeboro, an overnight sprint stakes, drew a Grade 2-type field including the Paul Pompa-owned, Richard Dutrow Jr.-trained entry of D’ Funnybone and This Ones for Phil as well as graded runners like Trappe Shot and Rule by Night. Deputy Daney, a two-time stakes winner, and Sunrise Smarty, who recorded a monster allowance victory two races back, complete the compact field. Earlier on the card, Belmont runs the $100,000 Times Square Division of the New York Stallion Stakes, a race originally scheduled for Sunday, but one that did not fill.

Three of the six horses entered for the Waldeboro are coming off extended layoffs. Trappe Shot, runner-up to Lookin At Lucky in the Haskell, has not been out since finishing ninth as the favorite in the Travers Stakes. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he didn’t have to stop on Trappe Shot for any specific reason after that race.

“We were trying to do the right thing by the horse,” McLaughlin said. “We gave him plenty of time and he’s come back very well. He’s grown up and he looks like a real powerfully-built horse now.

“We thought this would be a good starting point,” McLaughlin added. “We didn’t know how difficult it was going to be.”

Rule by Night won an overnight stakes last Nov. 21 at Aqueduct by 9 1/4 lengths, running seven furlongs in 1:20.67 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 108. A physical issue put him on the sidelines for the winter, but he has nine workouts since March 5 for his return.

D’ Funnybone is a five-time Grade 2 winner with a pair of those victories – the Futurity at age 2 and the Woody Stephens at 3 – coming at Belmont. He finished last in last year’s King’s Bishop and was given time off with general “wear and tear,” Pompa said. He returned to the races in the Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream, where he finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite.

“We were disappointed,” Pompa said. 'He drew the rail, he got pinned in, never really got a chance to stretch his legs. He’s been training very good and he loves Belmont.”

Pompa said either D’ Funnybone or This Ones for Phil, the 2009 Swale winner who has not been out in 14 months, would not run.

If Pompa scratches This Ones for Phil, Deputy Daney becomes the main speed from the rail under Cornelio Velasquez.