March 22, 2023

Still Having Fun rolls late to win Woody Stephens

Still Having Fun flies by his rivals to take the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) under jockey Joel Rosario at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Saturday, June 9, 2018 (c) Photos by Z

Shipping out of the shadow of Mitole, STILL HAVING FUN closed down the center of the track to defeat Engage and pacesetters Promises Fulfilled and World of Trouble in the $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) on Belmont Stakes Day at Belmont Park.

Still Having Fun joins Tremont Stakes winner Our Braintrust as the second horse to ship from Maryland to win a stakes race during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. The Old Fashioned colt was second behind Mitole in the Chick Lang Stakes on Preakness Stakes Day, May 19, at Pimlico after starting his career with three wins from four starts, including a Frank Whiteley Jr./Miracle Wood Stakes double.

“We just always hoped he was a nice horse,” trainer Tim Keefe said. “It felt like the race was in slow motion, and then I looked up and saw :21-and-change, and there wasn’t any slow motion about that. He’s got a big kick and just didn’t want (jockey Joel) Rosario to leave him too much to do, but don’t be too impatient either, and he’ll come running.”

Kentucky Derby (G1) and Florida Derby (G1) pacesetter Promises Fulfilled set a blistering pace, going an opening quarter mile in :21.46 and a half in :43.68, before World of Trouble challenged him on the outside. Promises Fulfilled never did let World of Trouble by, but Engage and Still Having Fun were too much through six furlongs in 1:08.43 before Still Having Fun won in 1:21.45 for seven furlongs on the fast main track.

“I had a perfect trip because there was a lot of speed in front of me,” Rosario said. “He was very comfortable. By the eighth-pole I knew I had it he has such a big stride.”

Keefe trains Still Having Fun for a partnership of (Adam) Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber and Terp Racing LLC. The colt was bred in Maryland by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes and Keefe. It was his first graded stakes win as a trainer.

Still Having Fun now sports an 8-4-2-0 career mark and more than doubled his lifetime earnings to $431,703. The Trappe Shot ridgling is out of the unraced Dehere mare Casual Kiss.