CT: No Change prevails in Funkhouser Memorial
With a late season tear, No Change is making a strong case that he’s the best current West Virginia-bred not named Coastal Mission.
The five-year-old Fiber Sonde gelding made it three consecutive stakes wins Saturday night at Charles Town Races, surging to the front midway on the final turn and then holding off his challengers to win the $75,000 Randy Funkhouser Memorial Stakes by three parts of a length. In this race, as in the prior two, Social Chic was the runner-up.
No Change is owned and trained by Cyndy McKee and was bred by her late husband, longtime Charles Town stalwart John McKee. Prior to this year, No Change’s lone stakes win had come in the 2022 Confucius Say. Now his trophy case also includes hardware from the Frank Gall Memorial and WVBC Onion Juice, along with the Funkhouser.
In all, No Change has 15 wins and $487,325 in earnings from 34 career starts. He’s won four of eight this year while adding over $170,000 to his bankroll.
Saturday’s edition of the Funkhouser, originally named the A Huevo and changed last year after the passing of the O’Sullivan Farms patriarch, was significantly altered with the scratch of the Jeff Runco-trained morning line favorite Coastal Mission, pointed instead to the Grade 2 Cigar Mile in two weeks. That left Coastal Mission’s stablemate Muad’dib, the two-time defending West Virginia-bred Horse of the Year and two-time champ of this event, the 4-5 post time favorite.
With Arnaldo Bocachica up, Muad’dib attained an ideal stalking position early, running third and within a few lengths of longshots Lord of Cork (16-1), who grabbed the early advantage, and Noballstwostrikes (45-1), second early and then joining Lord of Cork after three quarters in 1:13.64. No Change and pilot Marshall Mendez, meanwhile, were a joint sixth with Social Chic at that juncture, some nine lengths off the lead.
Rounding the final turn, No Change was able to slip through along the rail to contend and then slice to the three path for a clear run. That move proved decisive, as Social Chic and Angel Cruz were forced to take the overland route and found themselves a couple of lengths behind the leader with a furlong to go.
Social Chic kept grinding and did cut into No Change’s advantage but ran out of racetrack. The final margin was three-quarters of a length, with Muad’dib nearly two lengths farther back in third. Running time for the nine furlongs on a fast main track was 1:52.83.
Off as the second choice in the 10-horse field, No Change paid $6.80 to win. The exacta returned $21 on a one-dollar wager.
The final Charles Town stake of the season, the $75,000 West Virginia Futurity for two-year-olds, is scheduled for November 25.
CHECK OUT THE LATEST OFF TO THE RACES RADIO!