09/26/2007 12:00AM

Speed may fare best in Funkhouser

EmailNine 3-year-old fillies pointing to next month's West Virginia Breeders Classics will get their final local tune-up Friday night at Charles Town.

The $50,000 Ruth Funkhouser, a seven-furlong stakes for West Virginia-accredited fillies, is the fourth of six local preps for the 21st annual West Virginia Classics series on Oct. 20. The Funkhouser is designed for horses planning to run in the $100,000 West Virginia Division of Tourism at seven furlongs.

The fillies in the Funkhouser with the fastest recent races are all deep closers, which could enable one of the few horses with early speed - Josephine Ichimo, B's Wild Rush, or Makin Copy - to steal the race.

Josephine Ichimo raced above her conditions when she scored her second win in a nonwinners-of-three allowance from close to the lead going 6 1/2 furlongs on July 7. In three subsequent starts, she twice flashed early speed and tired.

B's Wild Rush ran much faster than any of the opponents she will face in the Funkhouser in four starts over Polytrack at Arlington Park. But since coming to Scott Lake's barn, she has finished a distant third twice going two turns on dirt, at odds of 1-5 and even money.

The only stakes winner in the field is Makin Copy, part of a coupled entry with Jip's Girl. Makin Copy won the 6 1/2-furlong Eleanor Casey Memorial in her final start at 2 last December, but is winless in four starts this season.

Jip's Girl, Sassy Sheri, and Seemslikealifetime come off good efforts locally against second-level allowance company, but all three need a fast, contested pace to do their best running from far back in the pack.