Belmont Prepares for Funny Cide's Homecoming

Edited release from NYRA
Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide will seek to become racing's 12th Triple Crown winner when he goes to post on Saturday, June 7th in the 135th running of the grade I, $1 million Belmont Stakes - the 1 1/2-mile final leg of the Visa Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

It will be a huge homecoming for the Belmont-based horse, his trainer, Barclay Tagg, and jockey Jose Santos, after Funny Cide blew away Saturday's 128th Preakness at Pimlico in Maryland by 9 3/4 lengths, covering the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55 3/5. It was one-quarter of a length shy of the Preakness victory margin record set when Survivor won the first running of the Preakness on May 27, 1873.

Funny Cide is now poised to become the first New York-bred to win the Triple Crown and the first horse to accomplish the feat since Affirmed did it 25 years ago.

If Funny Cide does it, he will earn a $5 million bonus from Visa for his connections.

Thirty years ago, on June 9, 1973 to be exact, the great Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths in a world record 2:24, setting records along the way for the fastest half-mile (:46 1/5); three-quarters of a mile (1:09 4/5); mile (1:34 1/5) and mile and a quarter (1:59) fractions in Belmont history. His victory ended a 25-year Triple Crown draught that began after Citation swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1948.

Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. on Belmont Stakes Day. The Belmont Stakes, race 10 of a live 12-race card that will begin with a first-race post at noon on Saturday, June 7th, will be televised by NBC (6:04 p.m. Eastern). WNBC will begin its 30-minute telecast at noon, with ESPN covering from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. NBC's 90-minute Belmont Stakes telecast will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern.

On Belmont Stakes Day, Belmont Park will offer a $1 million-guaranteed Pick Six, beginning with race 6, the grade II, $250,000 True North Breeders Cup Handicap for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs (3:16 p.m.); and including the grade III, $200,000 Just A Game Breeders' Cup Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile on the turf (race 7, 3:57 p.m.); the grade II, $200,000 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup for three-year-olds at seven furlongs (race 8, 4:38 p.m.); the grade I, $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (race 9, 5:20 p.m.); the Belmont Stakes (race 10, 6:04 p.m.) and race 11 (6:50 p.m.). There will also be a $500,000 guaranteed Pick 4, beginning with race 8. The 12th and last race of the day will go to post at 7:22 p.m. Eastern.

Last year, War Emblem sought to win the Triple Crown and he attracted a record 103,222 patrons to Belmont Park. His bid, however, was foiled by Sarava, who returned the highest Belmont Stakes $2 win payoff ($142.50).