Funny Side Laughs Last in Sleepy Hollow

Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, who won his two previous starts by a combined 24 ¾ lengths, got more than he bargained for from Spite the Devil, but the 1-5 favorite held off his rival by a neck to win Saturday's $100,000 Sleepy Hollow for 2-year-old New York breds at a mile.

Funny Cide and jockey Jose Santos inherited the lead from front-running Unbridled Drive with an inside move on the turn, then had to fend off Spite the Devil for the neck victory in 1:36 3/5. He returned $2.40 to win.

For trainer Barclay Tagg, the Sleepy Hollow was truly Funny Cide's first test by fire. He settled nicely, had no problem coming inside of horses. Most importantly, he came back after giving up the lead in the stretch to Spite the Devil, who is trained by upset specialist Allen Jerkens.

"I told Jose (Santos) not to rush him because he still has to learn a few things," Tagg said. "Then, he got caught in a box down inside. I don't want him to go to the front and run, run, run all the time, but he made it look a little scary today. At least, he got it done.

"Jose said that the horse was more nervous today than usual. He's had three races in six weeks, and that can be tough on them."

Aqueduct's $200,000 Remsen, Funny Cide's next probable race, at 1 1/8 mile will be held on Nov. 30. Another option, the NTRA Great State Challenge will be run at Sam Houston Park, Houston Texas, on Saturday, December 12.

Jockey Jose Santos also figured prominently in Funny Cide's education. He had a hard hold of the colt on the inside as they tracked Unbridled Drive, who went easily in splits of :23 2/5 and :46 2/5.

Funny Cide took the lead at the quarter-pole, was immediately joined by Spite the Devil, and the race was on.

"They knew I was the horse to beat and they were all trying to win the race," Santos said. "They were taking care of me. That little hole opened up on the rail, and I said, `That's it. I've got to go for it.' He got a little tired today."

A gelded son of Distorted Humor, Funny Cide was bred in New York by WinStar Farm LLC. He has now earned more than $35,000 in his three starts, all victories.

(Chart, Equibase)