Ceremony and celebration of popular New York-bred who passed away earlier this summer to coincide with New York Showcase Day
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will pay tribute to Funny Cide, one of the most successful and popular New York-breds of all time, on New York Showcase Day, Sunday, August 27, at Saratoga Race Course.
Funny Cide, who died earlier this summer due to complications from colic, earned more than $3.5 million during his six-year racing career, including a history-making victory in the 2003 Kentucky Derby when he became the first New York-bred to win the “Run for the Roses” and was later named the 2003 Eclipse Award winner for Champion 3-Year-Old Colt.
Funny Cide gained a large-scale national and even international following after his ownership group, Saratoga Springs-based Sackatoga Stable, traveled to the Kentucky Derby in a yellow school bus, a nod to the everyday fan, that continued throughout the 2003 Triple Crown series. Following his Derby win, Funny Cide would go on to complete two-thirds of the Triple Crown with a victory in the Preakness before coming up short in the Belmont Stakes.
“Few of us will ever forget Funny Cide’s remarkable 2003 season, which helped shine a light on the growing success of the New York-bred program,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke. “NYRA is honored to celebrate his life and career on this most appropriate of days: New York Showcase Day at Saratoga.”
Funny Cide’s remains will be buried at Saratoga during a brief ceremony starting at 11 a.m. inside Gate C and just a short distance from the horse path. Saratoga Race Course will be the final resting place for the two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year, allowing his passionate fan base to pay their respects in an area accessible to the public.
“Funny Cide was instrumental in helping to elevate the New York-bred program to national prominence and was a fan favorite wherever he ran,” said Najja Thompson, executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “His connection to the city of Saratoga Springs extends beyond being foaled locally at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds and campaigned by Sackatoga Stable. Residents of the city and racing fans understand the great impact he made on our sport. It is an honor to have him recognized on New York Showcase Day and for visitors to Saratoga Race Course to be able to pay their respects to him going forward.”
Funny Cide’s connections, Sackatoga Managing Partner Jack Knowlton, trainer Barclay Tagg, assistant trainer Robin Smullen and Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos, will be on hand to sign an array of memorabilia, including Funny Cide posters and bobbleheads, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jockey Silks Porch. Suggested donations will benefit the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) and the New York Race Track Chaplaincy, a pair of non-profit organizations dedicated to the care and well-being of members of NYRA’s backstretch community.
Later in the afternoon, following the annual running of the Funny Cide presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, NYRA will present a video compilation of his career, including his signature Grade 1 wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Funny Cide retired in 2007 and resided at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, until the time of his passing in mid-July.
“Sackatoga Stable is most appreciative of NYRA’s recognition of the impact Funny Cide has had on and off the track throughout his storied career,” said Knowlton. “We are particularly proud of the impact he has had on the New York-bred program in its growth since his 2003 Kentucky Derby victory. Always a fan favorite, it is particularly fitting that Funny Cide’s remains will be buried at Saratoga Race Course in a place where fans can remember the ‘Gutsy Gelding.’”
New York Showcase Day will highlight the continued success of the New York-bred program with six stakes for state-breds worth a combined $1.25 million. The card will include the $250,000 Albany, a nine-furlong test for sophomores and five $200,000 stakes, including the Fleet Indian for sophomore fillies; the West Point Handicap presented by Trustco Bank for 3-year-olds and up; the Yaddo Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; and a pair of sprints at six furlongs in the Funny Cide, presented by Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, for 2-year-olds; and the Seeking the Ante for juvenile fillies.
Highlighted by the 154th edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 26, the 2023 summer meet at historic Saratoga Race Course continues through Monday, September 4.
Racing is conducted five days a week, Wednesdays through Sundays, apart from the final week, when the meet will conclude on Labor Day.
For more information about Saratoga Race Course visit NYRA.com.