Funny Cide Favored for Saturday's MassCap

Four grade I winners, including last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes champion Funny Cide, are among the nine horses entered for Saturday's $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) at Suffolk Downs.

Funny Cide was made the 8-5 favorite in a field of nine entered Wednesday in the 1 1/8-mile event.

Joining Funny Cide as Grade I winners in the MassCap are Evening Attire ('02 Jockey Gold Cup), Gygistar ('02 King's Bishop) and Sarava ('02 Belmont).

Evening Attire, who finished second in the '02 MassCap, was the second choice on the morning line at 2-1.

The MassCap, first run in 1935, was canceled last year because of financial problems.

The 4-year-old gelding Funny Cide, trained by Barclay Tagg, is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Metroploitan Handicap (gr. I), a one-mile race at Belmont Park on May 31. Prior to that, he was a half-length winner over Evening Attire in the 1 1/8-mile Excelsior Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

"I think 1 1/8 miles is probably his ideal distance," said Tagg. "But I think his ability to win depends more on the competition."

Funny Cide's owners, the Sackatoga Stable, will be well represented in East Boston on Saturday.

"We expect a group of close to 40 people for the race," said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga. "Seven of our ten partners will be there."

Jose Santos will ride Funny Cide.

The 6-year-old gelding Evening Attire, owned by Joseph and Mary Grant of Quincy, MA, will be looking for his first win of 2004 for trainer Pat Kelly.

"My horse is six years old now, so he's getting a little older," said Kelly. "But he's still racing competitive times against really nice four-year-olds and older horses like Seattle Fitz and Midway Road."

The late addition of Sarava to the field means the MassCap will include winners of all of the Triple Crown races. Sarava won the 2002 Belmont (gr. I).

Gygistar ended a six-race losing streak when he won the Westchester Handicap (gr. III) for trainer Mark Hennig to kick off the Belmont Park 2004 season May 5, but like Funny Cide, was off the board in the Metropolitan.

$500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II, 10 race, 12:45 ET), 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile
PP-Horse, Jockey, Morning Line
1-Offlee Wild, Edgar Prado, 15-1
2-The Lady's Groom, Horatio Karamanos, 8-1
3-Basil's Rhythm, Vernon Bush, 30-1
4-Gygistar, Joe Bravo, 5-1
5-Sarava, Javier Castellano, 12-1
6-On the Game, Raul Rojas, 20-1
7-Funny Cide, Jose Santos, 8-5
8-Evening Attire, Shaun Bridgmohan, 2-1
9-Rogue Agent, Jorge Chavez, 10-1