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Funny Cide

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By Tom Keyser and Sun Reporter | May 18, 2003
Funny Cide arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Friday a Kentucky Derby winner with something to prove. He departed last night the emphatic winner of the Preakness , with vindication, new respect and one last hurdle to surmount. With an electrifying performance in front of 100,268 chilly patrons, the New York -bred gelding captured the 128th Preakness by 9 3/4 lengths. Only one horse has won the race by more - Survivor by 10 lengths in the inaugural Preakness in 1873.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | May 3, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Barclay Tagg looks like a horseman, an old-fashioned one. He has a care-worn face and wears blue jeans and long-used cowboy boots. His jacket is the color of a dry autumn oak leaf. And the collar is usually turned up, his shoulders hunched against the brisk, early-morning air. His cool blue eyes are surrounded by worry lines. Or maybe they're laugh lines. Certainly they show up on good and bad days. For Tagg, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2003 with Funny Cide, one day rolls into another, whether he is here, beneath the twin spires, readying for today's Kentucky Derby, or back in New York or Delaware with his everyday runners.
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By TOM KEYSER | June 15, 2003
That big inflated balloon known as Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid has begun to deflate, ever so slowly, as spring gives way to summer - and to Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, Monmouth Park and, finally, Saratoga. Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, is headed to the Haskell Invitational Handicap on Aug. 3 at Monmouth. Empire Maker, winner of the Belmont Stakes, is headed to the Jim Dandy Stakes the same day at Saratoga. If all goes well, they'll clash again in the Travers on Aug. 23 at Saratoga in what could be an electrifying rematch.
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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | May 1, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Fair Hill-based trainer Graham Motion had a little more excitement in his morning routine than he would have liked during his first Kentucky Derby week in 10 years. As Motion was bringing Adriano back from his morning gallop, another horse, who had thrown his rider, ran loose and came worrisomely close to Motion and his A.P. Indy colt. The trainer, seeing the loose horse in his peripheral vision, quickly directed his pony and Adriano into the empty shedrow of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas' barn.
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By LAURA VECSEY | June 7, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - He was somewhere in the barn, sequestered in his stall and under his colorfully craggy trainer's strict mandate to stay calm, but oh so ready to run. Funny Cide is more than ready. The assistant trainer whispers to him and sings to him, helping him channel that energy. Maybe that's why the smile on trainer Barclay Tagg's leathery face seemed to emanate from a place deep inside - a place that knows something special could take place at 6:38 this evening. "This horse keeps getting bigger, stronger, more confident, better and better.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 9, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - Barclay Tagg never stopped working through the Triple Crown. He wouldn't meet with reporters until 10:30 each morning, explaining that he had other horses besides Funny Cide to train, that he couldn't take time from them just because Funny Cide was going for the Triple Crown. Yesterday, with the Triple Crown trek over, Tagg spent his morning at Belmont Park's Barn 6 as usual - working. He couldn't understand how reporters could have any more questions for him, and he showed little tolerance for them.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 19, 2003
The Funny Cide juggernaut rolled out of Maryland with a lot more steam than when it rolled in. The gelding's overpowering victory Saturday in the Preakness won over skeptics who now believe he has an excellent chance of winning the Triple Crown. After Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby on May 3 by 1 3/4 lengths, many racing fans wondered whether he could do it again Saturday in the Preakness. No, he couldn't, actually; he did it better. He devoured his nine competitors by 9 3/4 lengths, the second-largest margin of victory in Preakness history.
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By John Eisenberg and John Eisenberg,SUN STAFF | June 8, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - What did in Funny Cide yesterday in the Belmont Stakes? Some might think it was jockey Jose Santos' decision to take the lead early in the race rather than stalk other horses, as he did in winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But that wasn't the problem. Others might point to the horse's blistering workout at Belmont Park earlier in the week, which could have left him with little gas in his tank. But that wasn't the problem either, according to his trainer, Barclay Tagg.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 7, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - When War Emblem raced for the Triple Crown last year at Belmont Park, a record crowd of 103,222 filled the grand old track on Long Island. But did America really care? A Saudi Arabian prince bought a horse a month before the Kentucky Derby and nearly won the nation's most prestigious racing series. Still, fans turned out in droves hoping to see history made. One year after War Emblem's failure, a Triple Crown is on the line again today. This time, however, Funny Cide's quest for racing glory resonates throughout the country - even with people who don't normally follow racing.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 17, 2003
Decades of work, hope and chance met at that rare crossroads where life seems truly blessed. Funny Cide's victory in the Kentucky Derby brought rapture to his human connections and honor to the horse. It lasted one week. A flimsy accusation that Jose Santos, Funny Cide's jockey, cheated in the Derby brought this edifice of euphoria crashing down. Then Santos was promptly cleared. And the rebuilding has begun. Two weeks ago, Funny Cide became the first New York-bred ever and the first gelding since 1929 to win the Kentucky Derby.
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By SANDRA MCKEE and SANDRA MCKEE,SUN REPORTER | May 20, 2006
Funny Cide favored in Schaefer Funny Cide, the 2003 Preakness winner, who is recovering from a nagging back injury that sent the gelding on an eight-race losing streak before he won his last time out, will attempt to make it two straight today in the Grade III $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap. The 8-5 favorite faces six other older horses, including Andromeda's Hero, a 4-year-old son of Fusaichi Pegasus, trained by Nick Zito. "This is the right spot for him," said Funny Cide trainer Barclay Tagg, explaining his decision to run him in the Schaefer instead of the more ambitious Grade I Pimlico Special yesterday.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 14, 2004
Funny Cide won't make the trip from New York to run today in the Pimlico Special. Barclay Tagg, his trainer, made the decision late yesterday afternoon after conferring with Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, which owns Funny Cide. Winner of last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Funny Cide has a respiratory condition that worsens in hot, humid weather, Tagg said. He said earlier this week that he wouldn't run Funny Cide in the Special if it was too hot. "Nobody wanted to run him more than I did," said Tagg, who trained in Maryland for three decades before relocating to New York.
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By LAURA VECSEY | May 14, 2004
AFTER IT WAS all over - the Derby, Preakness, Belmont and Breeders' Cup Classic - and Funny Cide had morphed from lightly regarded Derby entry to Triple Crown threat to lung-impaired question mark, Barclay Tagg allowed himself one small luxury. If you can call it that. "We took three days off. It was in December. We went to the Bahamas, drank a little rum," Tagg said by phone from his barn at Belmont Park the other day. Heaven forbid that the 66-year-old trainer who started out grubbing for horses in Maryland 33 years ago should fully enjoy anything in his glass-is-half-empty life.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen R. Proctor and Stephen R. Proctor,Special to the Sun | April 25, 2004
Funny Cide, by Sally Jenkins. Putnam. 320 pages $24.95. Laura Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit, the runaway best seller of 2001, set a standard for books about horses that few writers will be able to meet. But it won't be for lack of trying. Seabiscuit's phenomenal success -- it was also a hit movie -- stoked the market for horse-racing books. The latest is Funny Cide, the story of a blue-collar horse and his small-town owners who nearly took down the biggest prize in the Sport of Kings. This is no Seabiscuit, but it shares many of the qualities that made that book fire the imagination.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | January 27, 2004
Mineshaft and Funny Cide, winners of Maryland's premier races, soared to the summit of their sport last night by capturing Eclipse Awards at the annual black-tie gala honoring horse racing's top achievers. The banquet took place at an oceanside resort in Hollywood, Fla. Mineshaft captured the supreme award: Horse of the Year. His victory in the Pimlico Special was one of four Grade I stakes scores in 2003. Mineshaft also won an Eclipse statuette as outstanding older horse. Funny Cide, whose emphatic 9 3/4 -length victory in the Preakness sent him to the Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown, captured the Eclipse as top 3-year-old male.
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By TOM KEYSER | January 18, 2004
After Funny Cide delighted racing fans with his sizzling victory last weekend at Gulfstream Park, his owners unveiled the schedule for the popular New York-bred gelding. Among the races on the list was the Pimlico Special. Funny Cide's appearance in the Grade I stakes May 14 at Pimlico Race Course could generate nearly as much excitement as the Preakness the following day. But the Special, which was canceled two years ago because of a purse shortfall, could be canceled this year for the same reason.
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By Steve Davidowitz and Steve Davidowitz,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | May 17, 2003
In the Kentucky Derby, Funny Cide had the perfect trip. He avoided the wide run on both turns that cost favored Empire Maker some energy, and he avoided the speed duel with front-running Brancusi that sapped some of Peace Rules' reserve power. But, before we expect Peace Rules to turn the tables, we should appreciate something else about Funny Cide's Derby performance. Funny Cide acted the part of a mature racehorse. Not only did he relax beautifully behind a front-running speed duel, but he also maintained control of his energy until Jose Santos gave him the command to make his best bid when it counted.
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By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN STAFF | May 18, 2003
Midway through the Preakness yesterday, jockey Jose Santos took a quick peek behind him to see if any competitor was coming up to challenge Funny Cide. "On the backside, I took him into the clear and I looked for the traffic, and there was no traffic," said Santos. Horse and rider were well on their way to a good, old-fashioned country whipping of the field. In a race virtually free of major incidents and/or congestion, Funny Cide survived a slight brush with New York Hero coming out of the gate, his No. 9 post position and an early challenge from Peace Rules to overwhelm a 3-year-old lineup somewhat diluted in quality by injuries.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 5, 2003
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Funny Cide returned to Saratoga Race Course yesterday with a fever after his third-place finish in the Haskell Invitational Handicap, said trainer Barclay Tagg. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner turned in an unusual, lethargic performance Saturday in the Haskell at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. He arrived back at his Saratoga barn about 12:30 a.m. yesterday. "He's got a fever, and he's tired," Tagg said. He said the gelding's temperature was 102 degrees.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 4, 2003
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When they make the movie of Funny Cide and Empire Maker's rematch in the Travers, they can alter realty for drama's sake and film the two horses winning their prep race. Fact is, they both lost. Empire Maker, winner of the Belmont, finished a fast-closing second yesterday in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York. A half hour later, Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, finished a lackluster third in the Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
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