Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, one of the nation's most popular horses in recent years but a disappointment during the 2005 campaign, continues to show improvement under trainer Barclay Tagg's patient handling at Gulfstream Park.The Kentucky Derby-Preakness (both gr. I) winner and 3-year-old champion of 2003 worked five furlongs in :58 1/5 handily Friday morning at Gulfstream. Tagg's assistant and Funny Cide's regular exercise rider Robin Smullen was aboard for the trip.Tagg has indicated that the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 7 may serve as Funny Cide's return to the races. The Mr. Prospector and Hal's Hope handicaps and the Aventura Stakes are part of Gulfstream's opening weekend.The Mr. Prospector carries a $100,000 purse and may be a prep for the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb.4.Funny Cide suffered from an aching back the past year, limiting the 5-year-old gelding to only three starts. A fourth-place finish in the Pimlico Special (gr. I) was his best showing. In his career, the New York-bred has won eight of 24 starts with earnings of $3.2 million. He's had three starts at Gulfstream. He won his 2004 bow at Gulfstream, then finished second to Medaglia d'Oro in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) later that year. He was sixth the year before in Offlee Wild's Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III).Joining Funny Cide on the work tab was Good Reward, a two-time grade I winner on the turf trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey.Good Reward breezed four furlongs in :48 4/5.
Good Reward upset Artie Schiller in the Manhattan (gr. IT) at Belmont Park last June at 14-1. The previous autumn he went out to California and upset (16-1) the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. The Phipps Stable homebred is a son of Storm Cat out of Heavenly Prize, the Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old filly of 1994.