05/17/2013 2:01PM

Belmont Park: Funfair starting year back on turf in Miss Otis

Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo
Funfair wins the Colleen going five furlongs over the Monmouth Park turf.

Funfair, who won both of her juvenile turf sprints impressively, makes her seasonal debut against seven rival 3-year-old fillies in Sunday’s $85,000 Miss Otis overnight stakes, a six-furlong race scheduled for the inner turf.

Funfair was a decisive debut winner on this same course last July, and went to Monmouth Park a month later to win the Colleen with similar ease. She started just once more after that, when she pressed the pace and faded to sixth as the 8-5 favorite in the Presque Isle Debutante.

“We tried the [synthetic] and she did not handle it at all,” said trainer Christophe Clement, who has already won stakes at the meet with Bella Castani (Tweedside), Lubash (Fort Marcy) and Miss Valentine (No Reason). “She came out of that race a little sore, so we turned her out for 60 days. She went back in training and is doing well, looks very well, and we’re looking forward to getting her back on turf. She likes firmer turf more than soft turf, and the weather forecast is good.”

Exchange Cat, a $16,000 claim in March, has picked up $49,800 in purse money in two starts for Linda Rice – a win over starter optional claimers at 10-1 on April 19, and a runner-up finish in the Tweedside at 16-1 eight days later.

In six career starts for Mark Hennig, Coarsegold has finished in the money without fail, and she has shown versatility of late by winning a five-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream and returning soon afterward to win the Secret Grace stakes via disqualification after being forced out leaving the far turn.

“She got pinched in the first turn, and I think she took the worst of it at the top of the stretch when [Swear Me In] came out,” said Hennig, who is off to a 3-2-0 start with his first eight starters at the meet. “I was proud of her re-rallying after that.”

Jane of All Trades, whose two front-running wins at Gulfstream for Kiaran McLaughlin included a decision over Coursegold, appears the one to catch stretching out from five furlongs.

Coconut Shrimp, second in the Voodoo Dancer and Chelsea Flower overnight stakes here last fall, makes her first start since trying dirt and finishing fourth in the Busanda behind stablemate Princess of Sylmar.

Fab Flowers, Fearless Jacq, and Mellonbrook complete the field.