At 7, Funny Cide snaps 6-race losing streak


FARMINGTON, N.Y. (AP) – Funny Cide received a regal reception and responded like a champion.

Four years removed from making a run at a Triple Crown, Funny Cide returned to the winner’s circle at a track far removed from the majesty of Churchill Downs.

The 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness captured the 31st running of the $100,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, driving past pace-setting Johnie Bye Night down the stretch and pulling away by three lengths at the finish.

The 7-year-old Funny Cide had not won in six straight outings, but the 1 1-8-mile test for 3-year-olds and up proved to his liking as a near record crowd of more than 12,000 cheered his every stride. He covered the distance in 1 minute, 51.77 seconds.

After an uncharacteristic slow break from the gate in a light drizzle, Funny Cide trailed Johnie Bye Night in fifth entering the first turn. Johnie Bye Night, who had won four straight stakes races at this out-of-the-way track just southeast of Rochester, continued to lead as the field of eight sped along the backstretch.

Alan Garcia, who gave up several mounts at Belmont to ride Funny Cide for the first time, gave the chestnut gelding the whip a couple of times as they slowly moved up entering the stretch turn.

Garcia swung Funny Cide to the outside and they easily sailed past Tiger Speech and Johnie Bye Night for Funny Cide’s 11th victory in 38 starts. The win boosted his career earnings past $3.5 million.

Funny Cide, running without blinkers for the first time in three starts, had not won since taking the $200,000 Grade 3 Dominion Day Stakes a year ago at Woodbine, but was in the money in each of his last two starts. He returned $4, $2.60 and $2.20. Johnie Bye Night paid $3.20 and $3.00, and Tiger Speech paid $4.40 to show.

AP-ES-07-04-07 1809EDT