The Triple Crown is usually reserved for the horses entrenched in racing culture: a famous sire, Kentucky-bred, owned by legacy families. Enter Funny Cide, a gelding raised in New York by a bunch of party people. His trainer, Barclay Tagg, had failed to make a splash in the racing scene, and his owners were hardly of the posh Louisville elite. To start, there were 10 of them, a motley bunch of upstaters who held jobs in construction, retail or catering. That’s why their horse Funny Cide, nicknamed “the gutsy gelding,” became a veritable celebrity for, well, his anti-celebrity tendencies. A stunning 10-length Preakness win brought the horse to his home state, where the anticipation peaked. The crowd, 101,000 strong, made their loyalties known as Funny Cide was introduced and then as he took the lead rounding the first turn. But the horse could not be controlled, expending much of its energy as jockey Jose Santos tried to rein it in. Empire Maker cruised past Funny Cide, leaving the hometown hero five lengths behind, in a distant third place. That’s hardly a laughing matter.
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