“Is that Funny Cide?”
Yes, Jose, that’s Funny Cide, and we haven’t seen the Derby-winning gelding this happy since the first Saturday in May. We will resist the urge to editorialize over his shiny coat and rich, healthy dapples – suffice it to say that he looks very, very good.
Between the saddle and Funny Cide’s back are four – count them, FOUR – thick saddle pads wedged into a jolt-proof cushion of cotton, synthetic air-pad, and fleece. The split leather reins droop down to a curb bit and western headstall; Funny Cide swirls the bit around with his tongue and flecks of foam spray out to dot his whiskers.
“Has he adjusted?” Tagg asks, repeating a question asked by an owner. “How does it look like he’s adjusted? He backs up like a pony should, he neck reins like a pony should, he stands still like a pony should… I think he makes a pretty good pony.”
We keep an eye on Funny Cide while he’s on the track. There are spurts of the old racehorse fire – fiercely pinned ears when a stablemate gets too close, a bow-necked snorting moment when Tagg moves him into a canter down near the first turn. For the most part, however, Funny Cide has adjusted to his new life. He even accepts goodwilled pats on the nose before ferrying his stablemate off the surface.
Back at the barn, Tagg clips the gelding onto a shank that is tethered to a lightpost. There is a haynet. Funny Cide noses around to find the best pieces, then digs in. Looks like he’s enjoying the simple cide of life.