LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 19, 2023) – Funny Cide, 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner, died July 16 following complications from colic at 23 years old. The New York-bred, nicknamed the “Gutsy Gelding,” was a resident at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions barn since 2008.
“For the last 15 years, we have been graced by Funny Cide’s presence at the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Kentucky Horse Park President Lee Carter. “This year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes victories, allowing the gutsy gelding to captivate our hearts once again. While we mourn Funny Cide’s passing, he will forever remain the people’s horse.”
“It was a great honor and privilege to be responsible for Funny’s care,” says Hall of Champions Supervisor Rob Willis. “He was the perfect ambassador for the sport of horse racing and responsible for creating new fans, reinvigorating old fans, and bringing new owners to the sport. Funny’s story was not only admired by his fans but was also an inspiration to many. His legacy will live on at the Hall of Champions.”
Sired by WinStar Farm’s Distorted Humor and out of Belle’s Good Cide, Funny Cide was foaled on April 20, 2000 at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbred Farm. Purchased as a gelding by a group of high school friends from Sackets Harbor, New York, known as Sackatoga Stable and trained by Barclay Tagg, Funny Cide won all three of his races as a two-year-old. His three-year-old campaign began in Florida where he was 5th in the Holy Bull Stakes (G3). He then finished 2nd in both the Louisiana Derby (G2) and the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) before heading to Kentucky.
Sent off at odds of nearly 13-1, Funny Cide scored a decisive win in the 2003 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, defeating the favorite Empire Maker by 1 1/2 lengths under jockey Jose Santos. He became the first New York-bred to wear the blanket of roses and the first gelding winner since 1929. Two weeks later, in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course, he proved the Derby was no fluke, winning the second jewel of the Triple Crown by over 9 lengths. However, the fairy tale ending was not to be. Funny Cide battled through the long stretch to finish third in the Belmont Stakes, losing the race, and the Triple Crown, by only 5 lengths.
Funny Cide raced more than twenty times following his Triple Crown bid, hitting the board in half those starts and winning 3 graded stakes. In one of the most impressive performances in Funny Cide’s long career, he returned to Belmont Park for the 2004 Jockey Gold Cup (G1) and reminded everyone why he’ll always be known as the gutsy gelding. Overall, Funny Cide banked $3,529,412 in 38 starts and retired in 2007. After a brief stint as Tagg’s stable pony, Funny Cide joined the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.
“Sackatoga Stable wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation for the fabulous 15 years of Funny Cide’s retirement that he was privileged to spend in the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park,” says Sackatoga Stable’s managing partner Jack Knowlton. “We would like to express our thanks for the wonderful care provided to Funny Cide. To say we will miss him is an understatement.”
Like other great Hall of Champions horses at the Kentucky Horse Park, Funny Cide will be buried at the Memorial Walk of Champions alongside past Thoroughbred residents Go For Gin, Forego, Bold Forbes, John Henry, Alysheba, and Da Hoss.
A public memorial service will be held at a future date.