Funny Cide, Kentucky Derby winner who will make seasonal debut Saturday.

Funny Cide, Kentucky Derby winner who will make seasonal debut Saturday.

Barbara D. Livingston

Derby Winner Funny Cide Makes 2004 Debut Saturday

Sackatoga Stable's Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Funny Cide has been entered in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race on Saturday's card at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor -- Belle's Good Cide (by Slewacide) has been assigned 118 pounds and will be ridden by Jose Santos as he faces six others. Only one of the entries -- 7-year-old Justification -- is entered for a tag, running for $100,000. The 122-pound highweight is Wacky For Love, third-place finisher in the 2002 Cowdin Stakes (gr. III). New York Hero, winner of the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park last year, has been assigned 120 pounds.

Trained by Barclay Tag, Funny Cide has won five of 11 starts and earned $2,099,385. The gelding has not started since finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Santa Anita.

The gelding has been with Tagg at his Palm Meadows base, and worked a half-mile in :47 on Wednesday morning to get ready for his debut.

"He's been doing really good," Tagg said, "but the target remains the Donn Handicap."

The grade 1, $500,000 Donn will be run at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park Feb. 7.

Three of the 10 members of the Sackatoga Stable partnership that owns Funny Cide plan to attend Saturday's race: managing partner Jack Knowlton, Gus Williams, and Dave Mahan.

"We're not the least bit nervous about Saturday's race," Knowlton said from Saratoga Springs, New York. "It's nine degrees up here today (Thursday). Nervous? Are you kidding? We're leaving this kind of weather to go to the sunny south and watch the Kentucky Derby winner run."

Trainer Allen Jerkens cross-entered Justification Saturday as well as in Friday's feature and said Thursday afternoon he was undecided as to where to run his horse.

"If it rains I may run him in Friday's race (which has been scheduled for the turf)," he said. "I'm friends with Barclay and I'm glad they got the race to go (Saturday for Funny Cide)."

Santos says there will be no apprehension on his part when he climbs aboard Funny Cide Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I was on him when he worked New Year's Day (six furlongs in 1:11 2/5) and I could tell right away that he had matured, that he's bigger and stronger than he was last year. He was very strong and he was feeling very good...The Triple Crown races take a lot out of every horse, but I would say that right now he's at least 85% of what he was going into the Derby."