05/18/2004 11:00PM

Humorously impresses connections in defeat

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MIAMI - There was nothing funny about Humorously's behavior in the paddock before Saturday's Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico. Although in the end, trainer Bill White was able to come away smiling because his promising 3-year-old finished third behind Royal Assault despite some anxious moments before and during the race.

"He was really prepared to run well coming into the race," said White, Calder's perennial leading trainer. "We had gotten Gary Stevens to ride him, and everything was going along just perfect until I was ready to tighten the girth in the paddock.

"The crowd was huge and noisy, and it was a very closed-in environment, and he became a little apprehensive, banged his legs against the side of the stall and just about fell to the ground," White added. "But even after all that he went out and ran a very good race."

Humorously, a 3-year-old son of Distorted Humor, finished second in Gulfstream Park's Aventura Stakes in his previous start. He raced within easy striking distance of the leaders in the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton, was shuffled back on the far turn, and re-rallied to finish only 2 1/4 lengths behind Royal Assault.

"Gary elected not to send him away from there because the track was showing stalkers were running very well at Pimlico that day," said White. "He was laying just off the lead and was into the bit and ready to go at the three-eighths pole."

Then, said White, P. Kerney, under Edgar Prado, "tightened things up a little bit and Gary had to check out, and as a result had to get his momentum going all over again."

White said Stevens was impressed with Humorously's race.

"Gary thought he ran extremely well the way he was able to make two runs," said White. "His comment after the race was, 'This is a gritty colt who has a future.' "

White said that in Humorously's most immediate future could be the Grade 2 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 12.

"The main objective of taking him out of town to run in the Sir Barton was to see how he'd stack up against the not-quite-classic 3-year-olds with an eye towards some of the secondary derbies," said White. "And we saw what we needed to see on Saturday. The Ohio Derby is definitely the number one on our priority list right now."

Two for the Simply Majestic

White entered two of his top 3-year-old turf horses, Capias and More Bourb, in Saturday's $75,000 Simply Majestic Stakes. The 1 1/16-mile Simply Majestic drew a field of 11, including Charming Jim, who is entered for the main track only.

White won the inaugural Simply Majestic in 2002 with True Love's Secret.

Clandestine to go two turns

Clandestine, perfect in two starts for the Padua Stables and trainer Cam Gambolati, will stretch out around two turns for the first time as the likely favorite in Friday's $40,000 Castlebrook Stakes.

Clandestine rallied to win her career debut by 1 3/4 lengths going 6 1/2 furlongs at Gulfstream Park on March 28, then returned five weeks later to win a first-level allowance race here by one length at seven furlongs. A daughter of Grand Slam, Clandestine figures to receive her stiffest opposition in the 1 1/16-mile Castlebrook from American Miss, Tiz A Dancer, and Special Report. Alarkandadove and Cute Connie are also in the field.

* Trainer Kathleen O'Connell scratched Tiz a Dancer from Tuesday's eighth race but sent out an capable replacement in Venturous Lady, who upset the optional claiming/allowance race on the grass under a perfect ride by jockey Danny Scocca. The win was the second on the card for O'Connell and Scocca, who also teamed with Shady Woman for a the victory in the sixth race.