04/22/2010 11:00PM

D' Funnybone simply superior


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - There is no arguing that D' Funnybone is talented. But trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has another theory as to why D' Funnybone has won four consecutive Grade 2 sprints on dirt entering Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Withers at Aqueduct.

"The horses he's been running against, he's just better than them," Dutrow said Thursday morning from Kentucky. "If he runs his race, I think he'll win, don't you?"

Most people would probably agree. If D' Funnybone runs the way he has winning the Hutcheson and Swale - both Grade 2 stakes this winter at Gulfstream - then he should most certainly take the Withers, which drew a lackluster six-horse field that includes three supplemental nominees. The only difference is that the one-mile Withers is a furlong farther than either the Swale or Hutcheson.

"I'm not worried about the mile," Dutrow said.

In addition to showing talent, D' Funnybone has shown versatility. In the Hutcheson, as well as the Futurity at Belmont and Saratoga Special last year, D' Funnybone displayed the ability to stalk. In the Swale, D' Funnybone broke so sharply that he was part of a contested pace through fast fractions. Still, D' Funnybone had plenty left in the stretch, keeping Ibboyee at bay to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Saturday, it is likely that Castaneda, a winner of three straight six-furlong races, will outfoot D' Funnybone for the lead. That's just fine for D' Funnybone, says Dutrow.

"He's better when he's got a target," Dutrow said.

Edgar Prado, will ride D' Funnybone from post 2. Prado has worked D' Funnybone three times at Aqueduct, including a three-furlong blowout Thursday morning.

"Edgar's been extremely happy with his breezes, and his other training has been very good," Dutrow said.

If D' Funnybone is to be upset, then Ibboyee is the most logical one to do it. Ibboyee made a strong but wide move when rallying to be second to D' Funnybone in the Swale.

"We felt his race in the Swale was very good," said Jonathan Thomas, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "With added distance it could do nothing but be to our advantage."

John Velazquez will ride Ibboyee from post 6.

Most Happy Fella, Afleet Again, and Spangled Star - all longshots who were supplemented to the race for a fee of $1,500 - complete the field.

The Withers is the third leg of a late pick four wager with a guaranteed pool of $250,000.