Eclipse Award winner and dual classic winner Funny Cide, first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), was named 2003 New York-bred Horse of the Year at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders' awards banquet April 26 in Albany. The Distorted Humor
gelding, who along with his owners--the 10-member Sackatoga Stable--attracted an international following, also was named New York-bred champion 3-year-old male, dominating a strong state-bred sophomore division that included graded winners Go Rockin' Robin and Spite the Devil. Funny Cide, who was produced from the Slewacide mare Belle's Good Cide, also won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Another Empire State-bred grade I winner, Buy the Sport (Devil's Bag
--Final Accord, by D'Accord), captured 3-year-old filly honors, and yet another New York-bred grade I winner, Whitmore's Conn (Kris S.--Albonita, by Deputed Testamony), took the title of champion turf male.
Grade II winner Read the Footnotes (Smoke Glacken
--Baydon Belle, by Al Nasr) was New York-bred champion 2-year-old male. Carson Hollow (Carson City
--Lizeality, by Hold Your Peace), New York's 2002 Horse of the Year, was named champion older female, earning her fourth state-bred title. The mantle of champion sprinter went to Bossanova (Pine Bluff
--Street Tappin, by Housebuster). Versatile multiple stakes winner Well Fancied (Prospect Fager--Patty's Fancy Tric, by Tricky Creek) was champion older male.
Other divisional winners were Capeside Lady (Cape Town
--Gray Lady Type, by Zen), 2-year-old filly; Wake Up Kiss (Cure the Blues--Good Morning Smile, by Morning Bob), turf female; and Greek Hero (Stay the Course--Forever Lonely, by Manado), steeplechaser for the third time, following 1999 and 2000.
Funny Cide's trainer, regular rider, and breeder--Barclay Tagg, Jose Santos, and Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm--were named by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders as top trainer, jockey, and breeder, respectively. Designated as NYTB champion broodmare for 2003 was Final Accord, dam Buy the Sport and three previous New York-bred stakes winners.
Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award was the late Gerald A. Nielsen (1934--2004), whose wife of 44 years, Joanne, was on hand with their four children to accept the award. Gerald Nielsen twice had served as president of the NYTB, and he and Joanne had earned awards as New York's top breeders for 1991 and 2001.