06/02/2010 11:00PM

Eightyfiveinafifty back to what he does best


ELMONT, N.Y. - After Eightyfiveinafifty's Hail Mary bid to run in the Kentucky Derby came to a predictable halt in the one-mile Derby Trial six weeks ago, trainer Gary Contessa said distance races were out. "We're going to make him the best sprinter in the country," he said minutes after the race.

That new quest begins on Saturday at Belmont Park, when Eightyfiveinafifty turns back to seven furlongs in the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens Stakes, which drew a small but dynamic field of five 3-year-olds.

The Stephens, the sixth race on the card, also attracted D' Funnybone and Discreetly Mine, the one-two finishers in the seven-furlong Belmont Futurity last fall, and two longshots, Remand and Thank U Philippe

Eightyfiveinafifty has had a mercurial career. He is best known for a wildly fast maiden win at Aqueduct, and then bolting when equipment broke in his lone try around two turns, which came in the Whirlaway at Aqueduct. He won the Bay Shore Stakes going seven furlongs on April 3 before finding a one-turn mile, on a sloppy track, too high a hurdle to clear.

"Being a son of Forest Camp, there were always warning signs that he would have distance limitations," Contessa said Thursday morning. "But when you have a horse that might make the Derby, you have to give it a shot. It's the Holy Grail. I don't believe the one-turn mile hurt him as much as the track condition. He just didn't care for that track."

Contessa said Eightyfiveinafifty was "going to remain a sprinter for the rest of the year."

D' Funnybone returns to his favorite distance. He is 3 for 3 going seven furlongs, including victories in the Swale and Hutcheson stakes at Gulfstream Park earlier this year. He beat Discreetly Mine by 4 3/4 lengths in the Belmont Futurity.

"I'm looking for the same kind of race," his trainer, Rick Dutrow, said Thursday morning from his barn at Aqueduct. "It's his best distance, over a track he likes."

D' Funnybone also benefits by breaking from the outside. He got into all sorts of trouble after starting from the rail in the one-mile Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on April 24, in which he finished a distant fourth in a field of five.

"He's got a great post," Dutrow said. "It sets up to fall into his lap if he runs his race."

Discreetly Mine is returning to sprints after three straight races around two turns, including the Kentucky Derby, in which he finished 13th in the field of 20. He won the Risen Star earlier this year, and last year was second in both the Belmont Futurity and the Champagne.