06/15/2013 9:20PM

Churchill Downs: Royal Delta well-beaten second in Fleur de Lis

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Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Funny Proposition, with Joel Rosario aboard, scores a front-running upset in the Fleur de Lis Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Joel Rosario won the Kentucky Derby on a 5-1 shot, and it wasn’t a surprise at all, even in a 19-horse field. Orb was the favorite at that price.

But when Rosario coasted home first Saturday night on a 5-1 shot named Funny Proposition among just five fillies and mares in the Grade 2, $186,375 Fleur de Lis Handicap, there were huge gasps of astonishment from the Downs After Dark crowd at Churchill Downs.

That’s because Royal Delta, the defending Eclipse champion in the division, finished a distant second to Funny Proposition, a wire-to-wire winner of the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis. Royal Delta was the 1-5 choice and never mounted a serious challenge to Funny Proposition when finishing five lengths behind in second.

“She just didn’t have it,” said Mike Smith, the rider of Royal Delta. “It was the first race back, I guess.”

Royal Delta, spotting the winner eight pounds when carrying high weight of 125 pounds, was making her first start since finishing 10th in the March 30 Dubai World Cup. Last year, on precisely the same schedule, she won the Fleur de Lis by eight lengths.

Instead, it was Funny Proposition, a 4-year-old filly with nary a stakes win from eight prior starts, who was dominant. Gunned to the lead from her rail slot, she held an open lead throughout, finishing in 1:50.22 over a fast track. She returned $13.40 as third choice.

Funny Proposition, a Kentucky-bred by Medaglia d’Oro, is owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse, neither of whom was on hand.

“My dad’s in Canada and Mr. Oxley is vacationing in France,” said Norm Casse, assistant to his father.

The younger Casse said making the lead was his entire race strategy.

“Every time I’ve ever seen her make the lead, she’s never been passed,” said Casse. As he watched the race unfold, “for the most part, I thought she had it all the way around.”

She’s All In was up for third, three-quarters of a length behind Royal Delta and just a nose before Ice Cream Silence. Wine Princess, the 7-2 second choice, brought up the rear.

The $2 exacta (1-5) paid $26.80 and the $2 trifecta (1-5-4) returned $129.60.

There was no show wagering. From a place pool of more than $286,000, almost $250,000 was bet on Royal Delta, who returned $2.10 to place.

The Fleur de Lis was the first of four straight graded stakes on Stephen Foster night.