Funny Cide Breezes on Belmont Turf; Plans Uncertain

Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr.I) winner Funny Cide had his first work over the turf Wednesday morning, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:03, and it was not what trainer Barclay Tagg was looking for. Tagg said the gelding's plans still are up in the air.

"I didn't like the way he looked on it, really," Tagg said, "but it might have just been too soft for him. He worked pretty good I guess, considering the dogs were out, and I believe he went faster than most of the horses went. I just thought he looked like he was struggling coming down the stretch, so I don't know if I'm going to be gung-ho about the turf.

"Jose (Santos) was on him and didn't like the way he handled the turn. He thought he was kind of losing his hind end coming around the turn.. He seemed to come out of it good, and he scoped clean afterward. Right now, I have no idea which way we're going to go. I don't think I can make him Horse of the Year, but I would like to get the 3-year-old championship. I've had a couple of people tell me I've got it sewed up, but I can't see that I've got it sewed up. Empire Maker has won three and we've won two. (Funny Cide) was a very popular horse, and did win two of the classics, but you never know."

The three races Tagg has been looking at next weekend are the Kelso Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) on grass, the Meadowlands Cup (gr. III), and the Indiana Derby (gr. III). After that, there is the Empire Classic against New York-breds.

"The thing I don't want to do is get him beat where he shouldn't get beat," Tagg said. "I'm just going to sit back and see what happens. The work today was just an experiment. I have one more work next week before I make a final decision. We're going to try to do the right thing."

Funny Cide has not run since finishing third in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 3. He came out of the race with a fever and slightly raised white blood count, then contracted a respiratory infection, which forced him to miss the Travers (gr. I).