Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide, with assistant trainer Robin Smullen up, headed to the Belmont main track for a routine 12-furlong jog this morning.
Smullen and Funny Cide, however, wound up getting an unexpected surprise just as they were about to step out onto the track.
"I heard a lot of commotion and turned and saw a loose horse coming right at us," Smullen said. "My heart stopped."
Having become the first New York-bred to win the Derby, in front of 148,530 screaming fans nonetheless, it's going to take more than a loose horse to rattle Funny Cide these days. The gelding never flinched.
"He could've cared less," Smullen said.
Once on the track, Funny Cide jogged one lap clockwise without incident.
"He went easy. No problems," trainer Barclay Tagg said.
Funny Cide, a son of Distorted Humor owned by Sackatoga Stable, is scheduled to school in Belmont Park's paddock before the third race on Saturday.
"I want to get him used to the crowd," said Tagg, who indicated Funny Cide was more rank than usual on the walk from the Churchill Downs barn area to the paddock prior to the Derby.
Tagg added he is still undecided as to when Funny Cide will ship to Pimlico for the second leg of the Triple Crown, the May 17t Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
"I don't think I'll ship Wednesday, but we'll do it before Saturday afternoon," Tagg said. "It all depends how he's doing. It depends how he does in the paddock, how he works on Tuesday and how he eats up."