Funnycide retired: Kentucky Derby champion still in the spotlight


Jenny Leslie takes Funny Cide out of the stall for a swim at Kentucky Horse Park. (Michael Swensen/Washington Post)

Lexington, Kentucky — If you’re so inclined, Funny Cide could almost forever see himself on TV just by looking at his old woman’s handsome barn stall across the hall. He sees humans looking up at TVs mounted on crates near the ceiling, seeing themselves on the tapes they play on loop, and seeing how they can beat their enemies in two towering stretch runs a blurry 20 years ago. I made a note of how I hit it, and I could hear the eternal voice again. Athletics announcer Tom Durkin.

“And the lead of the plentiful gelding Funny Cide is narrow!”

It was the 2003 Kentucky Derby, which he won by a quarter length.

“The field turns into home, and Funny Cide comes roaring off the turn!”

That’s the preakness he won by 9 3/4 lengths.

I was a hell of a story, a hell of a racehorse. If he can, you might say. If you don’t mind the rain, you might have beaten the Belmont.

It’s been 50 years since Secretariat’s Triple Crown, the anniversary of throwing a nostalgic blanket this Kentucky Derby week, but from Funny Side where the 13-1 Derby was shot in one of the greatest owner stories in Derby history. is also 20 years old. The popular giant Empire He had royalty in the maker, but Funnyside unknowingly had the glorious Sacketts Six in New York’s Sacketts Harbor (Pop. He was 1,369 at the time). In 2003, some people were late for an interview with the group on the Sun Porch in Sackett’s Harbor.

He had just officiated a baseball preparatory game.

My six high school friends were fully aware of their novices, so when I asked one of them, JP Constance, what he had learned, he replied, “Geldings can breed. is difficult,” and the room burst into laughter.

The six then sent Funny Cide to Kentucky Horse Park. Established in 1978, Kentucky Horse Park is a sprawling facility with its own rolling hills, museums and statues in the green quilt of the Kentucky landscape. And then there’s the cemetery and venue, and a show jumping competition starting on Thursday along the way. Sign up for the table.

Where is Funny Cide today?

He’s here in central Kentucky, just off a scenic walkway that begins with the graves of the great John Henry, Alisheva, and Sigurh (“Incomparable, invincible, invincible,” says Stone). He is next to his Given, 2001 Preakness and Belmont winner Great Point, and lives with his six horses, including four seasoned Standardbreds. He’s on the right, right next to his 15-year-old calico cat taking a nap. He’s 23 now 14 months ago he was 31 This is a good age for a senior horse.

He’s funny, on the funny side, more cat than dog in nature, but an acclaimed ambassador and always a racehorse. As I say, Funny Cide wasn’t put on Earth to attend a child’s birthday party. He was put on this earth to win his Kentucky Derby,” says Hall of Champions manager Rob Willis. He goes to the stall, pet him and watch the intensity. “You can feel the difference,” said Willis. “He’s a racehorse. You know what I mean? He can feel the power.”

“But he’s a sweet baby here,” said Funny Said as he stepped outside nearby to meet and greet about 75 tourists on a regular basis this particular Wednesday. Willis says. He seems to like that intimacy.

“He looks a little cute [right now]’” Groom Jenny Leslie retells his story, handing out Funny Cide carrots because most of the visitors don’t know it.

“He’s not,” she continued laughing.

“Only a handful,” she called him, later explaining that he was a ridge, in response to a question as to why he became a gelding, but said: . . . I can only imagine what he will become [at an age such as 2]” what else? He hates geese. He hates the rain, but he likes its aftermath, mud rolling in patches there. These horses can move indoors and outdoors as you like.

He’s not your rowdy boxer or Rottweiler, explains Willis.

“Funny Cide wants you off the lawn,” says Leslie.

Still, “this guy is a true ambassador,” says Willis, and “very popular,” says Leslie. “This is his job now,” she tells the audience. “To be loved and to be an ambassador of the race”

He is beloved for being the most intimate arrangement a Kentucky Derby winner can have. This program is about him, occasionally interacting with the public and receiving carrots and mints. A woman named Priscilla Andrews from Alabama brought both large bags, secured from Sam’s Club in Dothan.

Humans send him cards. On a box in Willis’ office, a small batch of cards is sent to see how Funny Cide celebrated her birthday. The return address is Greensboro, North Carolina. Tullahoma, Tennessee; Lehigh Acres, Florida. As one man wrote: Hope you and your friends have a great day! Birthdays are so much fun, so try what I do—Celebrate his birthday week!I’ve been in Connecticut for his month or two. I would like to visit you this summer. your friend. .

Willis opened the filing cabinet to reveal two bags of oregano and mint feed. The Kentucky Horse also sends in things like his park’s former resident John Henry, but these days he’s headlined with one star. “We have some people on special trips. They come a long way to see Funny Cide. We have a woman from Virginia…that was a long time ago, but still now.” very prominent in their minds.”

Others know him better. The owner’s managing partner, Jack Knowlton, who has taken his longtime friend on crazy adventures, visits more often than you might think. Jockey Jose Santos was by his side, and Santos’ son, Jockey Agent, who had just appeared as a student in a horse race in 2003, had just visited. fall into the category of

“Didn’t they make a movie about him?” I have one question.

No, but there are books, Leslie replies.

“When tourists come here, they may not have a strong affinity for horses,” says Lee Carter, executive director of Kentucky Horse Park.

Therefore, humans arrive at 7:30 each morning to stock up on food, and soon Funny Side heads to Wash Bay. He likes a 20 minute morning nap at his age. Still, he remained that racehorse in his bones, and perhaps that’s why after a while he didn’t mind the twice-daily show with the other horses in the pavilion next to the barn. It may have instilled a sort of paddock-like compulsion that drove him to compete.

As he might see on television, he was good at it.

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