Starlight Racing’s Cutting Humor took the lead in early stretch and kept a stubborn foe at bay late in securing a neck tally in the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby (G3) on Sunday. The Todd Pletcher trainee picked up his initial stakes win after completing nine furlongs in a track-record 1:46.94 beneath John Velazquez. The three-year-old colt also earned 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard for his work.

Cutting Humor is by the superb First Samurai, who scored in the 2005 Hopeful (G1) and Champagne (G1). The son of Giant’s Causeway was a leading contender for the 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) until he suffered an injury in the Blue Grass (G1) in what turned out to be his final race.

First Samurai has been impactful at stud, siring at least 26 stakes winners from 10 crops to have raced. Canadian champion Stacked Deck and Grade 1 winners Lea, Justin Philip and Executiveprivilege, are among his top performers.

The unraced Pulpit mare Pun is the first dam of Cutting Humor. The half-sister to multiple Grade-1 hero Zensational produced the twice graded-placed stakes winner Irish You Well, and she is also responsible for an unnamed yearling filly by Lea.

Her second dam is stakes victress Joke, who herself is kin to three-time Grade 3 heroine Trip and dual stakes winner Laity. This is the same female family as millionaire Departing and Bolt d’Oro, winner of the 2017 Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner (G1).

Pulpit has been an especially productive broodmare sire to date. The daughters of the son of A.P. Indy have produced at least 59 stakes winners that have banked in excess of $61 million. They have been versatile in producing winners from across the globe, on any type of surface, and the mares have often been stamina influences.

Cutting Humor shows a catalog page that boasts a fine combination of speed and class. His ability to finish his races with energy indicates that he might be able to excel at classic distances. The colt will need further improvement going forward to run with the best of his crop, but his pedigree will not hold him back.

Cutting Humor photo: (c) Coady Photography