Funny Cide's Ashes Buried in Public Location at Track

Jack Knowlton, Jose Santos, Barclay Tagg and Robin Smullen attend ceremony to inter Funny Cide ashes | Mike Kane

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – During a ceremony Sunday morning prior to the annual upstate New York Showcase Day, some of the ashes of the late GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness winner Funny Cide (Distorted Humor) were interred at Saratoga Race Course.

The popular New York-bred foaled at the nearby McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, and owned by the New York-based Sackatoga Stable, died at the age of 23 on July 16 from complications of colic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. He won the 2003 Derby and Preakness and his attempt to sweep the Triple Crown series ended with a third-place finish in the GI Belmont S.

While five other Thoroughbreds are buried under markers on the grounds of America's oldest racetrack, Funny Cide is the first to be placed in a location–under a tree just behind the clubhouse–that is accessible to the public. Sackatoga managing partner Jack Knowlton said he is pleased the that New York Racing Association agreed to his request to place the memorial where it did. Knowlton said he worked with NYRA President and CEO David O'Rourke, NYRA executive VP Glen Kozak and Najja Thompson, the executive director of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.

“I think they got the right spot,” Knowlton said.

Four horses–Fourstardave, APhenomenon, Mourjane and Quick Call–are buried near the jogging track in Clare Court in the backstretch. Hall of Famer and champion Go for Wand is buried in the infield. Knowlton said he pushed back on the suggestion to put Funny Cide's ashes in Clare Court.

“Different people said, 'Oh, great horses are buried there, do that. Maybe do something in the walking ring,” Knowlton said.  “He's the people's horse and we wanted people to have access and let the fans see him. That's what was agreed upon and I think it's a great spot. All racing fans are going to have access to it and hopefully have good memories. Right now, we need good memories.”

Knowlton and Sackatoga partner Lew Titterton placed the metal box with the ashes in the site that had been prepared as Thompson addressed the crowd of about 50 people who attended. Trainer Barclay Tagg and his assistant Robin Smullen and his regular rider, Hall of Fame jockey Jose Santos, participated in the event.

Later, Knowlton said that some of the gelding's ashes will be buried at the Kentucky Horse Park, where he lived for 15 years and was a favorite of visitors, and at the McMahon farm.

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