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Funny Cide to draw a crowd

The largest crowd in decades is expected at Finger Lakes Race Track today to see 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide, the most accomplished horse ever to run at the 45-year-old thoroughbred track.

"We're expecting between 6,000 and 8,000 people," said Steve Martin, director of operations. "It'll probably be the biggest crowd since the '90s."

The 7-year-old New York-bred gelding has not won a race in over a year, but is expected to be the 6-5 favorite against seven others in the $100,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap.

"He's running well and he's healthy," said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, owner of the oldest Derby winner still in training. The group of friends from Sackets Harbor bought Funny Cide for $75,000 in 2002. He has earned $3,469,412 while posting a 10-6-8 record in 37 starts.

Funny Cide has been assigned to carry 123 pounds, including jockey Alan Garcia, in the 1 1/8 mile Wadsworth, the eighth race on a nine-race card that starts at 1:10 p.m. Post time is about 4:19 p.m.

He is spotting four pounds and two years to his nearest rival, Johnie Bye Night, last year's Finger Lakes Horse of the Year and 9-5 second choice on the morning line.

Johnie Bye Night, who won last year's Wadsworth in stakes-record time (1:49 2/5 ) totes 119 pounds, including leading jockey John Davila Jr. Other entrants are assigned between 103 and 117 pounds.

Sackatoga partners will display the Derby, Preakness and Jockey Club Gold Cup trophies and sign autographs from 1 to 3 p.m. Posters will be available for a donation to the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program.

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