Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, currently a resident of the Hall of Champions at the Kentucky Horse Park, expanded his résumé Saturday when he traveled to Ellis Park Race Track in Henderson, Ky.
The track star and ambassador found a new role as promoter of Funny Cider, a beverage from Park neighbor Evan Orchards, marketed by Jack Knowlton, one of the horse's owners. Part of the proceeds from Funny Cider will benefit the Hall of Champions.
A true superstar with earnings of more than $3.5 million, Funny Cide's scheduled appearance in the paddock of Ellis Park did bring some suspense to the life of Cathy Roby, manager of the Hall of Champions. "Some days he is really quiet. Some days he puts on quite a show," Roby noted of his reaction to large crowds and excessive noise. "He likes to rear. And spin ... and kick."
To mitigate excessive drama, Roby enlisted the aid of 6'5" farrier John Veague to help her lead the fractious Funny Cide.
"He was a good anchor," Roby reported.
Four thousand fans were expected, but around 6,000 showed up to admire and even touch Funny Cide as he glided around the paddock fence. Roby said Funny Cide handled it like a champion, munching on grass and peppermints.
The only rearing came during his second appearance in the paddock between races four and five. "It was really hot and he was sweating," Roby recalled. "Everyone was thanking us for bringing Funny Cide and the crowd starting applauding."
He emerged from the trip "no worse for wear," Roby said.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.