The connections of Funny Cide received a surprise gift/loan as their horse is just more than 24 hours away from attempting to win the Triple Crown in Saturday's Belmont Stakes (gr. I). During their daily press conference outside Barn 6 on the Belmont Park backside, assistant Robin Smullen revealed that they were loaned the overgirth Secretariat wore in the 1973 when he won the Belmont by a record 31 lengths.
"His name is David," Smullen said, who said she couldn't remember his last name. "He gave us...loaned us...the overgirth Secretariat used. It's signed by (jockey) Ron Turcotte, (trainer) Lucien Lauren, and (owner) Penny Tweedy.
David DeCerbo, a law partner at Nixon Peabody, LLP.and horse owner from the Saratoga area, was later identified as the individual who made the gift.
Smullen said she almost cried when she was given the overgirth.
"He said, 'I want you to use it during the race,'" Smullen said. The historic loaned item, however, won't be used.
"We decided not to use it, but we'll have it in the bag when we go over there," Smullen said.
Secretariat was the ninth winner of the Triple Crown in 1973 and was followed by Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. There has not been a Triple Crown winner since.