FLEUR DE LIS H. | PURSE: $186,375 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/8 MILE
John Oxley's Funny Proposition upset reigning champion older female Royal Delta while securing the first stakes win of her career in the $186,375 Fleur de Lis Handicap June 15 at Churchill Downs.
Already established as a filly who loves running at the Louisville oval, Funny Proposition took things to another level in improving to 4-for-4 on the Churchill main track as she enjoyed a clear lead at every call and had plenty left to hold off Royal Delta's stretch run.
A daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, John Oxley's Funny Proposition registered a five-length win with Royal Delta, sent off at 1-5 in her efforts to win the Fleur de Lis a second straight year, finishing second.
"We had a plan and it came together the way we thought it would," said Norman Casse, assistant to winning trainer Mark Casse. "We thought we would take it to [Royal Delta] right away and she was coming off a layoff."
In her first start since an off-the-board finish in the Dubai World Cup, Besilu Stables' Royal Delta raced four- to three-wide through the first turn. Spotting Funny Proposition eight pounds, the 5-year-old Empire Maker mare made a move in the turn and challenged mid-stretch, but Funny Proposition found another gear near the eighth pole to draw off to the easy win.
"She seemed a little bit more pensive in the paddock than normal," Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott said of Royal Delta. "Maybe it's just a matter of getting back into action. We'll see."
With Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Joel Rosario in the irons, Funny Proposition breezed through a quarter-mile in :23.30 and a half-mile in :46.83. Entered off a three-length victory in a May 17 allowance-optional claiming race beneath the Twin Spires, Funny Proposition easily handled the step up in class, completing the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares in 1:50.22 on a fast track.
"She's a good horse and she's a filly that will take you the whole way," Rosario said. "Turning for home, I felt like I had a little bit left and she was able to go on."
The winner returned $13.40 and $4.20 while Royal Delta paid $2.10. There was no show wagering because of the short field. Rounding out the field were She's All In, Ice Cream Silence, and Wine Princess.
Bred in Kentucky by Russell Reineman Stables, Funny Proposition is the first stakes winner out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Humorous Miss. Funny Proposition has won four of nine starts with two thirds and has earned $230,295.