Funny Cide and Evening Attire – two of New York's most popular runners in a long time – are scheduled to square off Saturday in the 92nd running of the $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/8 mile on Aqueduct's main track.The Excelsior will be Funny Cide's first New York appearance since his third-place finish in the 2003 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). His victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness earned the gelding an Eclipse Award as the nation's top 3-year-old.
Evening Attire, a 6-year-old gelding, has had some tough breaks of late, including a controversial disqualification from victory in Churchill Down's Clark Handicap in November. There is a chance that this already star-studded attraction may be enhanced with the addition of New Phoenix Stable's Sarava. The 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, who returned a stakes record $142.50 for a $2 win ticket, is now under the care of trainer Bob Baffert. He is winless in three starts since the Belmont Stakes.
Also expected for the Excelsior are Centennial Farm's Ground Storm, the Stymie Handicap winner; Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Host (CHI), a group I winner from South America; Scott Fein's stakes-placed Rogue Agent and Cynthia Phipps' Saarland, who has won three of seven main track starts.