Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, who will start in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) Saturday at Gulfstream Park, schooled in the paddock before Friday's first race.
Last Year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner was schooled by assistant trainer and exercise rider Robin Smullen while trainer Barclay Tagg looked on.
It was Funny Cide's third appearance at Gulfstream this year and first since his victory in a seven-furlong allowance race Jan. 10.
Tagg knows Saturday's effort will be significantly more difficult as he takes on Medaglia d'Oro at 1 1/8 miles.
"I'd like to have an easier race to go in, but they don't get very easy at this level," said Tagg. "I started him off in an allowance race just to get him back in a groove, but they can't all be that easy. He's coming up to the race perfect. I expect a good performance. I always want to win.
"He's a very smart horse...maybe a little too smart," said Tagg. "We know he doesn't like hot weather. I try to keep things quiet around him. He's not like a human athlete that can tell when he's not racing. When all the photographers come up to him it gets his adrenaline pumping because he thinks he's going to race. You can't do that too many times or he'll have nothing left when he does get out there for a race."
Keeping things quiet was foremost in Tagg's mind during the schooling. No announcements were permitted when Funny Cide arrived in the paddock and only a few fans picked up on the Derby-winner's presence.
"I just want to do right by him," said Tagg of the Distorted Humor
gelding. "We've put a lot of work into him and prepped him for so much. I hope it will pay off. It should be a good day on Saturday. I hope it's good for us."