Funny Cide to Get First Real Rest at Horse Park

When Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide is welcomed at the Kentucky Horse Park this Friday, Dec. 5, it will signal a new era of complete retirement and rest for a phenomenal athlete.

"Funny has really been in training or working almost his entire life," noted assistant trainer Robin Smullen. The chestnut gelding will turn nine on April 23, 2009. With earnings of more than $3.5 million, he has literally earned the rest.

Retired Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide and Robin Smullen

Retired Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide with Robin Smullen.

Funny Cide, trained by Barclay Tagg and Smullen, retired from racing last July, but immediately went to work as a pony horse. Lately, Tagg noticed he "seemed just a little bit stiff in his back."

"When Funny was five, he had to be abruptly checked during a race," Smullen recalled. "We had a hard time getting Funny over the soreness." They turned to acupuncture and other therapies to help the horse overcome his sore back.

"It is not a major thing, but Barclay just didn't want Funny to be stiff," Smullen explained. "Every single day, as a pony horse, Barclay is sitting on him, and we just don't want Funny to have any discomfort at all."

Retirement, be it equine or human, can be a delicate physical and mental transition. WinStar Farms, in Versailles, Ky., is housing the famous gelding they bred while Funny Cide awaits his induction ceremony.

Like many retirement decisions, this one can be rescinded if it does not work out. "If he doesn't take to it, he can come home," Smullen said. Tagg and Smullen plan to monitor Funny Cide's adjustment to complete rest and retirement.

"I want to do what is best for him," Smullen stated.

About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More