Just because Funny Cide is taking an apparent drop in class to run at Finger Lakes Race Track Wednesday, don't get the impression that the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is over the hill.
"He's running well and he's healthy and as long as that's true, he'll be a race horse," co-owner Jack Knowlton, the unofficial spokesman for America's favorite 7-year-old New York-bred gelding said in a recent phone interview.
Funny Cide is 0 for 3 with two thirds in 2007 and has lost six straight since taking the Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine on July 1, 2006.
"In his last two races he was third in stakes [at Aqueduct and Belmont] and he ran a 98 Beyer [Daily Racing Form speed rating on May 18]. He'll give it a go. He's training well," Knowlton said.
The $100,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap will be the 38th start over 14 tracks in a career that started with a 14 3/4 -length victory over New York-bred maidens (non-winners) at Belmont Park on Sept. 8, 2002.
The native of Saratoga Springs has won 10 races with six seconds, eight thirds and earnings of $3,481,928 for trainer Barclay Tagg and the Sackatoga Stable, a group of high school friends from the tiny Northern New York town of Sackets Harbor who bought him for $75,000 as a yearling.
"He's run coast to coast and even into Canada," Knowlton said. "We're at a point where being able to do something like this is kind of fun. . . . It's nice to be able to let people who normally won't see a horse that's won the biggest race in the country."
Funny Cide is the first winner of a Triple Crown race to appear at Finger Lakes.
Since Tagg is running 3-year-old Nobiz Like Shobiz in Belmont's Dwyer Stakes Wednesday, assistant trainer Robin Smullen will saddle Funny Cide. Belmont jockey Alan Garcia has the mount.
Knowlton said the owners will be among about 100 people from Sackets Harbor are expected to make the trip by bus to the Canandaigua track.
They will display the trophies from the Derby, Preakness and 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup and will also be available to meet and greet fans. Funny Cide buttons will be given out to the first 2,000 fans and profits from souvenir merchandise will benefit the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Progam, which helps find homes for former race horses.
Post time for the first race is 1:10 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.