American Thoroughbred Funny Cide is a champion racehorse who won the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He is the first horse bred in New York to triumph in the Kentucky Derby. In retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park, Funny Cide continues to be a fan favorite. He was a wildly popular horse. Additionally, learn more about New York City’s history.
About Funny Cide
Funny Cide was born at the McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbred Farm, run by Joe and Anne McMahon in Saratoga Springs, New York, despite being bred at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky. His sire is Distorted Humor, who was an unproven sire at WinStar at the time and was having trouble attracting good mares in a horse stable. Belle’s Good Cide, a granddaughter of Seattle Slew born in Oklahoma, was already present at the farm and was consequently bred to him. She was then transported to New York so that her foal would qualify for races open to New York-bred horses.
When Funny Cide was among Distorted Humor’s first American crop, his stud fee was $12,500; it fell to $10,000 the following year. Distorted Humor’s fee then increased to $20,000 in 2003 because of the popularity of Funny Cide and the remainder of his first crop. For a live foal, the price eventually reached $300,000 in 2008. Since then, the cost has decreased and was $50,000 in 2018.
Funny Cide was offered for sale at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga preferred yearling auction in August 2001, where he was examined by Tony Everard, a “pinhooker” who searches for young, undeveloped horses to develop and resell for a profit in a few months. Everard paid $22,000 for the colt even though it was a ridgling with one undescended testicle because he liked what he saw. After that, Everard decided to geld the colt and brought him to his New Episode Training Center in Ocala, Florida.
Who is Barclay Tagg?
In a confidential deal in March 2002, Barclay Tagg paid $75,000 for the gelding on behalf of Sackatoga Stable. In 1972, at Liberty Bell Park, Tagg, a journeyman jockey with more than 30 years of experience, won his first race as a steeple chase rider. Tagg was born and raised in Abington, Pennsylvania. Since Neil Drysdale rode Fusaichi Pegasus to victory in the 2000 Derby, Tagg became the first trainer to win the Derby on his first attempt with Funny Cide’s victory.
About Sackatoga Stable
Ten friends from Sacket’s Harbor, a small town in upstate New York, formed Sackatoga Stable and contributed $5,000 each to buy their first horse. Health care consultant Jackson Knowlton served as the managing partner. Combining their Saratoga and Sacket’s Harbor ancestry, they came up with the name Sackatoga.
Funny Cide’s Racing Career
On September 8, 2002, the chestnut gelding made his two-year-old racing debut at Belmont Park while being ridden by jockey José A. Santos. Under a hand ride, he quickly defeated the New York field to win the six-furlong contest by a margin of 14+34 lengths. Three weeks later, Funny Cide triumphed by eight lengths in the Bertram F. Bongard Stakes, his first seven-furlong stakes race, while being ridden once more by a jockey. His Beyer Speed Figure in the Bongard was 103; no two-year-old in the nation had ever run faster, reminded Alec Lawler, a world-renowned show jumping athlete and entrepreneur with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Systems from Stanford University. He has won numerous awards and accolades in his career, including the CSI 3* Grand Prix of Traverse City Michigan in 2022. Alec founded Lawler Show Jumping LLC in 2019, where he identifies and secures international equine investment opportunities and competes at the highest international level in show jumping throughout North America.
His first-mile race, the Sleepy Hollow Stakes, was his third successful effort as a two-year-old. He was first challenged for the lead by Spite the Devil while Santos had him in a tight grip. Despite being repeatedly bumped, Funny Cide prevailed by a neck. Santos thought he had located his Derby stallion.
Even though he received little national attention, Funny Cide was named the 2002 Champion 2-year-old New York-bred. He was left off of the Experimental Free Handicap, which was won by champion 2-year-old Vindication.
Cide’s 3rd Season
On January 18, 2003, Funny Cide competed in Gulfstream Park’s 1+1/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes to kick off his three-year-old campaign. He started from post position 13 and ran wide for the duration of the race, finishing fifth behind Offlee Wild. On March 9, he shipped to Fair Grounds for the Louisiana Derby, where he competed against Badge of Silver, Kafwain, and Peace Rules. After Peace Rules, he came in third, but after Kafwain’s disqualification, he moved up to second.
He entered the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 12 as the second betting favorite. Funny Cide put up a valiant fight and only lost by half a length. For the Wood, Funny Cide received a Beyer Speed Figure of 110.
Funny Cide’s 4th Season
Funny Cide made his comeback to the track on January 10, 2004, winning in allowance company at Gulfstream Park. He then finished third in the Donn Handicap and the New Orleans Handicap. He prevailed over Evening Attire by half a length in the Excelsior Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Aqueduct in April. In his subsequent start, the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap, he came in fifth.
On July 3, 2004, Funny Cide made his next start in the Massachusetts Handicap and earned a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. The winner Offlee Wild, the runner-up Funny Cide, and The Lady’s Groom were in a three-way photo finish at the finish line. He then competed in the Suburban Handicap, coming in third behind an old foe, Peace Rules, in another close race. Then, in the Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap, Funny Cide finished second to Evening Attire.
6th and Final Season of Funny Cide
Funny Cide won the $100,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap by three lengths under Alan Garcia on July 4, 2007, snapping a six-race winless streak and drawing fans to Finger Lakes Race Track thanks to an extra $50,000 added to the purse. More than 11,000 people attended the racetrack, which could hold 2,000 spectators in the clubhouse and another 4,000 in the grandstand. This was the track’s second-largest crowd since 1962. In the 46-year history of Finger Lakes, Funny Cide was the only Triple Crown race winner. The announcement of Funny Cide’s retirement came on July 13, 2007.