04/07/2006 12:00AM

Sharp Humor shines down south

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With a possible Kentucky Derby candidate coming out of the Florida Derby and a one-two sweep in the Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct, New York-bred runners made some noise last weekend.

Sharp Humor nearly upset favored Barbaro in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, staying on determinedly in the late stages after setting all the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race and losing by only a half-length.

Bred by Patricia S. Purdy and owned by Purdadel Stable, Sharp Humor entered the Florida Derby off a victory in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes on March 4.

He earned $190,000 for his second-place finish, his first race around two turns, to send his career total to $456,410 with a record of 5-0-1 in 7 starts.

Sharp Humor is a son of Distorted Humor, the sire of New York-bred Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and Eclipse champion 3-year-old male of 2003.

He is out of Bellona, a daughter of Hansel who is a half-sister to Melting Gold. Bellona is out of Basoof, a daughter of Believe It, who is a half-sister to English champion Shadeed, winner of the 2000 Guineas.

This family also includes champion and Kentucky Derby winner Swale and Travers winner and top sire Forty Niner.

Sharp Humor, nominee for champion New York-bred juvenile of 2005, has also won the Bertram F. Bongard and Sleepy Hollow stakes.

The resilient West Virginia won the Grade 3 Excelsior, beating Funny Cide. They were the only New York-breds in the field of nine older horses in that 1 1/8-mile race.

West Virginia was bred by Donald S. and R. Mary Zuckerman and is raced by the Zuckermans. A 5-year-old son of Tomorrows Cat, West Virginia sent his career earnings to $749,846 and his record to 7-5-1 in 22 starts. The Excelsior was the second graded-stakes win for West Virginia, who has won or placed in 12 added-money races in his career.

West Virginia is out of Kennedy Road's daughter Wild and Wonderful, a half-sister to Monmouth Oaks winner Pampered Star.

West Virginia won the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap last year at Monmouth Park.

Tomorrows Cat, who was also raced by the Zuckermans, stands at Metropolitan Stud in Pine Plains for a fee of $7,500.

Through Wednesday's races, Tomorrows Cat had 2006 progeny earnings of $578,415, placing him just behind New York State leader A. P Jet at $589,453.

A. P Jet, who was New York's leading stallion in 2005 in terms of progeny earnings, stands at Sugar Maple Farm in Poughquag.

Funny Cide sent his career earnings to $3,272,819 with his second-place finish in the Excelsior, a race he won in 2004.

Keeneland 2-year-old sale coming up

Fourteen New York-breds are cataloged in the Keeneland 2-year-olds in training sale on April 18.

Gabriel Dixon, as agent, is consigning a colt from the family of major New York-bred graded-stakes winner Private Emblem.

By Royal Academy, the colt is out of Sea Puffin, a daughter of Mt. Livermore who is a half-sister to Merion Miss, the dam of Private Emblem.

Private Emblem, an earner of $783,152, won the Arkansas Derby and Albany Handicap.

Merion Miss is also the dam of New York-bred Rhum, winner of the Ticonderoga Handicap.

Niall Brennan Stables, as agent, is the consignor of a Yonaguska colt out of Whataboutus, a Clever Trick mare who is a daughter of multiple stakes-placed New York-bred Cazzy B.

Cazzy B.'s sister, Budgerigar, winner of the Sag Harbor Stakes, is the dam of stakes winner Avian Assembly, who placed in the Grade 1 John A. Morris Handicap.

Another top state family is represented by a filly out of D'Accord's daughter, Final Accord. Eddie Woods, as agent, is the consignor of this filly, by Orientate.

Final Accord is the dam of New York-bred Buy The Sport, winner of the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap, as well as three other stakes winners - Haggs Castle, Try N Sue, and Winter Dreams, all bred in New York.

This family also includes stakes winners Move It Now and Warfie.

A full sister to New York-bred stakes winner Indy Glory is at Keeneland, consigned by Becky Thomas as agent.

By A.P. Indy out of Immerse, by Cox's Ridge, she is also a full sister to Stephen Got Even, the good young sire who won the Grade 1 Donn Handicap during his career.