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Funny Cide winner of the Kentucky Derby with a jubilant Jose Santos up.

2003 Kentucky Derby Results

Date: 05/03/03

Cool and sunny weather brought out a crowd of 148,530 for the 129th running of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the fifth largest ever. Although the day started off good for trainer Bobby Frankel, winning three of the undercard graded stakes and finishing second in another, he missed the big one. New York bred gelding Funny Cide was the upset winner with Frankel's two entrants, Empire Maker and Peace Rules, finishing second and third. Funny Cide is the first gelding to win the Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929 and the first New York bred ever.

Turning for home with Peace Rules at the rail, Funny Cide in the center, and Empire Maker on the outside.
When the gate opened, expected pacesetters Brancusi and 6-1 second choice Peace Rules went to the front while Jose Santos kept his 13-1 shot Funny Cide in a stalking position in third. 5-2 favorite Empire Maker, sent off much higher than the oddsmaker had predicted, was bumped at the start but settled in an unhurried eighth racing wide throughout. The middle part of the race was mostly a duel between Brancusi and Peace Rules, who raced head to head for over 6 furlongs, setting fractions of 22.78, 46.23, and 1:10.48. Peace Rules inherited the lead when Brancusi succumbed to the fast pace, getting the mile in 1:35.75, but was unable to hold off the late move of Funny Cide. Turning for home, jockey Jerry Bailey roused Empire Maker who made headway up to third place at the top of the lane. However, the wide trip took its toll on the favorite, and he only managed to collar his stablemate Peace Rules inside the final furlong for a second place finish. Funny Cide captured the Roses by 1 3/4 lengths over Empire Maker. It was just a head back to Peace Rules and another head back to late-closing 9-1 shot Atswhatimtalkinbout, who was forced outside at the start and suffered a seven-wide trip. The final time for the 1 1/4 miles was 2:01.19.

Jose Santos celebrates his first Derby win on Funny Cide. This was also the first win for a New York bred and the first gelding to win in 74 years.

Funny Cide's co-owner Jackson Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable said: "We're just the little guys in the game, we have a three horse stable of New York-Breds. This is a great day for the New York bred program and New York racing. Barclay Tagg has done just a spectacular job with this horse from day one, he picked the horse out and we bought him privately. Jose Santos has ridden him in each of his seven races, he's never run a bad race and today he saved the best and we're just excited beyond belief."

Jockey Jose Santos was jubiliant after his first Derby win in seven attempts. He said: "This is an excellent horse. I can't believe won the Kentucky Derby on this horse. I guess people just didn't believe in him because he is a gelding and a New York bred. We're bringing the Kentucky Derby trophy back to New York, back home!"

Trainer Barclay Tagg had been criticized for keeping Funny Cide in New York until Wednesday, but his strategy paid off as Funny Cide became the first winner who did not prep at all at Churchill Downs since Bold Forbes in 1976. Tagg said: "He worked at Belmont Park on Tuesday and got here on Wednesday. I guess that's plenty of time to win the Kentucky Derby. I guess we've got to go [to the Preakness] now. He gets on the plane at 10 [Sunday] morning to go back [to New York]. But, I'm not sure how I'm going to train him this time."

At the wire it is Funny Cide followed by Empire Maker, Peace Rules, and Atswhatimtalknbout.
Jerry Bailey, jockey of favorite Empire Maker had this to say about the race: "When I asked him he went but he didn't go with authority like he did the last couple of races. He didn't have enough to put [Funny Cide] away. On the far turn I thought I could beat that horse like I did in the Wood, I thought I could do it."

When asked about third choice Ten Most Wanted's poor finish (9th), jockey Pat Day said: "I really don't have a plausible excuse for a rather poor performance. We got squeezed just a little but right away from the gate. We settled in going into the first turn just a couple lengths back of Empire Maker. When everybody started to pick it up inside the half-mile pole, I asked him to go ahead and improve his position and there was no response. He just kind of galloped on from there to the wire."

The Kentucky Derby

Purse: $1,000,000     Distance: 1 1/4 miles

Pgm  Horse              Jockey            Win   Place  Show
 6   Funny Cide         Santos          27.60   12.40  8.20
12   Empire Maker       Bailey                   5.80  4.40
 5   Peace Rules        Prado                          6.00

Funny Cide and Jose Santos in the winner's circle with the Derby roses.
Winning Time: 2:01.19 $2 Exacta 6-12 97.00 $2 Trifecta 6-12-5 664.80 $1 Superfecta 6-12-5-4 2,795.80 $1 Oaks/Derby Double 421.80 $2 Future Wager Poo1 1 188.00 $2 Future Wager Poo1 2 120.80 $2 Future Wager Poo1 3 107.40
Entries and horse profiles
Results chart Race 10

Kicking off the stakes action on Derby Day was the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap over seven furlongs for older horses. 6-5 favorite Aldebaran came from well off the pace with a seven wide move on the turn to collar Pass Rush inside the final furlong to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. The winning time was 1:21.80. It was another neck back to 80-1 longshot Cappuchino. Jockey Jerry Bailey said: "He was really rolling today. I think this was his best race. He beat some good horses here. As long as Bobby Frankel is in the trainer's column, I know Iíve got a good shot." Results chart Race 5

The two year olds made their first stakes appearances in the Three Chimneys Juvenile over five furlongs. 6.60-1 shot Limehouse initially refused to load into the gate but once the race was on, he was all business, setling in fourth early, splitting rivals on the turn, and then drew off from 24-1 pacesetter El Sysco Kid for a 1 1/4 length win in 57.47. 1-2 odds-on favorite Heckle disappointed back in fifth. Trainer Todd Pletcher said: "He was green in his first start and some of the things in that race were of his own doing. He improved a lot today and broke better." Results chart Race 6

The action moved to the turf course for the Grade 3 Citgo Distaff Turf Mile. 5-2 second choice Heat Haze came from eleventh and last for the first half mile, going eight wide for the drive to get the lead inside the eighth pole and win going away by 1 1/2 lengths. Final time was 1:33.96 over the firm course with Quick Tip in second and Sentimental Value third while 2-1 favorite Dedication was fourth. This race was trainer Bobby Frankel's second stakes victory of the day. He said: "I was happy when she broke so slow. I wanted him to take her back anyway. That way she wouldn't get caught up in the pack and get bumped around." Results chart Race 7

Frankel made it two in a row and three on the card when his 4-5 favorite Sightseek captured the Grade 1 Humana Distaff Handicap. Jerry Bailey settled the Juddmonte Farms homebred behind the leaders in fifth early, then at the top of the lane, split rivals and drew off to win by 4 1/2 widening lengths over 3-1 second choice Gold Mover in a time of 1:22.12 for the 7 furlongs. Frankel said: "I told the Prince [Khalid Abdullah] that ĎWe got the Grade 1 out of the way.í We wanted to win this one. Jerry Bailey rode a great race. Thatís why you hire a guy like him. He makes the right decisions." Results chart Race 8

In the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, old campaigner With Anticipation was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight but it wasn't to be his day. 24-1 longshot Honor In War stalked the pace early in fourth then rallied to the inside on the far turn to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths over Requete. With Anticipation finished a disappointing fifth, having too much to do after trailing in last early. The final time was a quick 1:46.67 for the 1 1/8 mile event. Trainer Paul McGee said: "It just made sense to run here with as good as heís been doing. His last race was so impressive. It was really this race or nothing. Itís great that his first stakes win could be a Grade 1. Iím not too surprised because heís been doing so well, but I guess Iím pleasantly surprised." Results chart Race 9

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