Funny Cide, Balletto Work in New York

Edited from Breeders' Cup notes
Funny Cide, the New York-bred dual classic winner of 2003, breezed a half-mile in 46 4/5 at Belmont Park Tuesday, with trainer Barclay Tagg declaring that "Funny Cide is doing better than he ever has in his life."

The Kentucky Derby (gr. I)-Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner is scheduled to start in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).

Last year, Funny Cide beat only one horse – 2002 Classic winner Volponi – in the Classic at Santa Anita. Last year, he came to the Classic with no starts between his distant third in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 and the Classic on Oct. 25. A cold weather-loving horse, the heat and smog at Santa Anita may have been a factor in the gelding's performance. This time, he comes to the Classic off a winning effort Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and he has trained ideally, according to Tagg.

"What I'm saying is the truth," Tagg said of. "He's leveled off a little and become more sensible. He is still a very strong and a hard horse to gallop, but Robin (Smullen, assistant trainer) and I have figured him out."

Smullen was aboard for Funny Cide's work on Tuesday, and agrees with Tagg's assessment.

"He's happy, he's relaxed and his respiratory system is all clear," Smullen said. "Barclay thought that 48 (seconds) would be too slow today and 46 would be too fast, so we breezed in 46 4/5 and that made everybody happy. Funny Cide is doing everything right, so we just hope he ships OK and runs his race."

Smullen will arrive with barn help around noon Wednesday, and will be at Lone Star Park to greet Funny Cide when he arrives later in the afternoon. Tagg will remain in New York until Friday.

Jose Santos has the mount on Funny Cide for the Classic

The gelded son of Distorted Humor  has won eight of his 20 career starts and earned $3,174,485.

Also at Belmont Park, Frizette Stakes (gr. I) winner Balletto worked five furlongs under jockey Aaron Gryder in :59 4/5 in preparation for the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

"It was a very impressive work for her," trainer Tom Albertrani said. "She appears to be on the top of her game."

The daughter of Timber Country flies to Texas Wednesday, as does Albertrani.

The Darley Stable homebred has won three of four starts, with a second in the Matron (gr. I) the only blemish on a near-spotless career.