07/06/2013 1:54PM

Mountaineer: Fritchie winner Funnys Approval trying to reverse string of poor finishes

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Funnys Approval will try to regain the form that enabled her to win the Grace 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap when drops from a series of stakes to an allowance Tuesday night at Mountaineer.

Normally, the only time a Grade  2 stakes winner might show up at Mountaineer Racetrack is on West Virginia Derby Day, which this year is Aug. 3. There is not even a stakes on Tuesday night’s nine-race program, but the entries do contain a filly who four months ago pulled off a 21-1 upset in a Grade 2 stakes in Maryland.

Funnys Approval, winner of the Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park in February, returns to Mountaineer for what looks like a spot to restore her confidence. Following three consecutive off-the-board finishes and a declining string of Beyer Speed Figures, Funnys Approval heads a group of seven fillies and mares going six furlongs in a no-conditions allowance that carries a purse of $37,100.

Tuesday’s eighth race may also serve as a local stepping-stone to female sprinters targeting the $100,000 West Virginia Secretary of State on the $750,000 West Virginia Derby undercard.

Funnys Aproval, who trains at Turfway Park with trainer Jose Lopez, put together a three-race winning streak at Mountaineer last fall. She then made her 2013 debut by wiring seven rivals in the seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie.

She hasn’t come close to duplicating that performance in three subsequent starts as her Beyers dropped from 84 to 78-69-55. Most recently, Funnys Approval finished last of five in the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs. In what is perhaps a red flag, Funnys Approval does not show a published workout since that May 27 race.

The most viable alternative to those unwilling to take an off-form Funnys Approval at a short price is the 5-year-old mare Awe Hush. One year ago, Awe Hush easily won a similar no-conditions allowance locally, part of her 5-for-9 record at Mountaineer. She will be making just her second start this season and her first since finishing third on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs on May 12.

It’s also the second start of the campaign for 4-year-old Nightofsolance. In her first race since November, Nightofsolance raced up close for a half-mile before fading in a second-level optional $40,000 claimer at Indiana Downs on July 1. She has recorded 4 wins and a close second in 6 previous starts at Mountaineer.

Dixie Jackpot has collected three of her five lifetime wins at Mountaineer. The last time she raced on dirt against similar competition to what she will face Tuesday, Dixie Jackpot drew clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths at Indiana Downs.