08/19/2009 12:00AM

Special looks difficult to decipher

Barbara D. Livingston
D' Funnybone will make his first start since coming to Rick Dutrow's barn in Thursday's Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The 104th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special brings together nine 2-year-olds who have run at eight different tracks; four have run exclusively on synthetics; and their best races have been within a couple lengths of each other. In other words, it is just another skull-buster of a race for handicappers.

Based on a close second in the Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder on July 11, the 7-2 morning-line choice is D' Funnybone, who was purchased by Paul Pompa and given over to Rick Dutrow just days after that race.

"He's been training good since we took him up to Saratoga," said Dutrow. "He came in to our barn the right way, and he's stayed the right way."

Flatter Than Me was run down in the Bashford Manor by Backtalk, and was originally intended for a rematch with that Hopeful-bound rival in the Sanford three weeks ago, but missed that race after spiking a fever. He showed no ill effects working a bullet five furlongs last Friday, and he returns in the 6 1/2-furlong Special.

"We had to back off him because of a little shipping fever, but I feel very good about him," said trainer Merrill Scherer. "He gets over this track real well."

The main speed could be Thiskyhasnolimit, the fourth Steve Asmussen-trained 2-year-old to draw the rail for a stakes at this meet, a list that includes Schuylerville winner Hot Dixie Chick and Sanford runner-up Enumerate. By Hopeful winner Sky Mesa, and out of a half-sister to Travers winner Bernardini, Thiskyhasnolimit has a Saratoga pedigree, and looked good wiring maidens at Churchill Downs second time out.

China, a Todd Pletcher-trained colt by 1997 King's Bishop winner Tale of the Cat, was an easy winner at 3-5 when unveiled at Keeneland four months ago. He was also entered in an allowance race on Friday.

Zip Quik, second in the Hollywood Juvenile last out, is first-time Lasix for Patrick Biancone, who won this race with Zavata in 2002 and with Henny Hughes in 2005.

Insightful, Tiny Woods, and Fearless Cowboy come off wins at Belmont Park, Del Mar, and Woodbine, respectively.

Fearless Cowboy won the Colin Stakes last out, and makes his United States debut for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after two workouts over the main track, including a sharp half-mile Aug. 5.

Activity Report, who dueled to midstretch in the Sanford, completes the field.