ELMONT, N.Y. -- Christmas came early for D' Funnybone on Saturday at steamy Belmont Park, with a gift-wrapped win in the Grade 2, $250,000 Woody Stephens Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters.
D' Funnybone, under Edgar Prado, sat back in third as Eightyfiveinafifty and Discreetly Mine tore through torrid fractions for the seven-furlong race, both hellbent on the lead. Discreetly Mine ended up winning the battle, but he lost the war. D' Funnybone easily cruised past the spent leaders and rolled to a 3 1/4-length victory over Discreetly Mine in the first of six stakes races run here Saturday.
D' Funnybone ($4.40), the favorite, completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.64. But he barely had to run. After a quarter-mile in 22.28 seconds, he was smartly rated six lengths behind the leaders and he still trailed by 3 1/2 lengths after a half in a swift 44.82.
"I just bided my time," Prado said. "I liked where I was sitting. It worked out perfectly."
D' Funnybone was winning for the sixth time in nine starts and for the third time in his last four starts. He won the seven-furlong Futurity Stakes at Belmont last fall.
"We know he likes this track, and things set up absolutely perfect for him," said Rick Dutrow, who trains D' Funnybone for owner Paul Pompa. "When I saw those two going with each other, I couldn't ask for anything better."
Discreetly Mine, in a courageous performance, still held on for second under Javier Castellano, a half-length in front of Remand.
"We discussed not giving up what came easy," said Discreetly Mine's trainer, Todd Pletcher, who said he was surprised Discreetly Mine got caught up in a duel. Discreetly Mine broke outside of Eightyfiveinafifty, usually the easier spot from which to take back.
Thank U Philippe was fourth, and Eightyfiveinafifty stopped badly to finish last in the field of five while drifting out badly through the stretch.
Ramon Dominguez, who rode Eightyfiveinafifty, said his horse felt fine while pulling up.