Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, who hasn't run since the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), turned in his first work of the year, breezing three furlongs in :36 3/5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park with regular exercise rider Robin Smullen aboard.
Watching the work from the trainer's stand was Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton and Funny Cide's rider Jose Santos. "This is the beginning, hopefully, of a great journey this year," Knowlton said to Santos.
As the 5-year-old gelding walked by the stand after the work, Smullen looked over and gave them a thumbs-up signal.
Funny Cide galloped out a half-mile in :50.
Last year's Jockey Gold Cup (gr. I) winner bears no resemblance to the lean 3-year-old who captured the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). His girth and hind end are enormous, and Santos says he's gained around 200 pounds since his 3-year-old year.
"He weighed 1,240 pounds when I put him back in training," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "After I trained him for a week, he weighed 1,248, and the next week he weighed 1,250."
Knowlton said Funny Cide will be pointed for the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland April 28, possibly followed by races such as the Pimlico Special (gr. I), the Stephen Foster (gr. I), and the the major fall events at Belmont Park. Knowlton said he wishes the horse could have made the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and would love to attempt to make next year's running.
Gulfstream Park fans will get to see him on track Saturday when he is inducted into the "Garden of Champions."