10/20/2004 11:00PM

At age 4, Funny Cide still on top


ELMONT, N.Y. - For the past 10 years in the fall at Belmont Park, New York breeders and owners have showcased their best New York-breds on a racing program that features seven stakes, worth a total of $1 million.

Saturday's New York Showcase Day has evolved into the equivalent of the Breeders' Cup for horses foaled in the Empire State and their connections.

Some of the stars from past Showcase Day cards will be conspicuous by their absence, including Funny Cide, who won the 2002 Sleepy Hollow before going on to win the following year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Funny Cide is scheduled to run in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30. Gander, a popular New York-bred who won the Empire Classic twice and finished second last year, was retired with an injury in September.

Several fresh faces will highlight this year's New York Showcase Day, including Galloping Grocer, a 2-year-old gelding who impressively won his first two starts, and Sugar Punch, a 3-year-old who is co-owned by New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and is undefeated in five starts this year.

Divisional honors are often based on the performances of the horses that run in the seven races: the $250,000 Empire Classic, $150,000 Mohawk, $150,000 Ticonderoga, $125,000 Hudson, $125,000 Iroquois, $100,000 Sleepy Hollow, and $100,000 Maid of the Mist.

The 2004 New York-bred champions will be decided by a panel of New York turf writers and announced at an awards dinner hosted by the New York Thoroughbred Breeders next spring.

Here is one person's rankings of the leading New York-breds, by division.

Older males

Not surprisingly, it's Funny Cide a wide margin. Funny Cide has competed successfully in graded competition all season long, and won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in his last start. Well Fancied, last year's Empire Classic winner, started the year off strongly, winning the Grade 2 General George at Laurel Park and the Grade 3 Toboggan at Aqueduct before being sidelined by an injury. Gander's record was spotty this year, but he did win the Kings Point at Aqueduct in the spring in what would be his final career victory. Spite the Devil won the Evan Shipman. Private Emblem won the Grade 3 Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park before suffering a fatal injury in the Kings Point.

1. Funny Cide

Pedigree: Distorted Humor-Belle's Good Cide

Breeder: WinStar Farm

Owner: Sackatoga Stable

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

2. Well Fancied

Pedigree: Prosper Fager-Patty's Fancy Tric

Breeder: Seymour Cohn

Owner: Sanford Goldfarb and Stewart Hoffman

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

3. Gander

Pedigree: Cormorant-Lovely Nurse

Breeder: Angela Rugnetta

Owner: Gatsas Stables

Trainer: John Terranova II

4. Spite the Devil

Pedigree: Devil His Due-Samantha D

Breeder: Elisabeth R. Jerkens

Owner: Hardwicke Stable

Trainer: Allen Jerkens

5. Private Emblem

Pedigree: Our Emblem-Merion Miss

Breeder: Doug Koch and Oak Cliff Stable

Owner: James Cassels and Bob Zollars

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

3-year-old males

Last year, Funny Cide was the runaway leader of this division. Settling on a leader this year isn't as clear-cut. Friends Lake, who has been retired, is the only Grade 1 winner in the division, with his upset in the Florida Derby at odds of 35-1. Read the Footnotes, who was sidelined with a leg injury in May and is back in training, won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. The now horse is Commentator, who is undefeated in four starts after winning the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 14; like Funny Cide, he is a son of Distorted Humor. Restricted stakes winners include West Virginia, Chowder's First, Don Corleone, and Multiplication.

1. Commentator

Pedigree: Distorted Humor-Outsource

Breeder: Michael Martinez

Owner: Tracy Farmer

Trainer: Nick Zito

2. Friends Lake

Pedigree: A.P. Indy-Antespend

Breeder: Chester and Mary Broman

Owner: Chester and Mary Broman

Trainer: John Kimmel

3. Read the Footnotes

Pedigree: Smoke Glacken-Baydon Belle

Breeder: Lawrence Goichman

Owner: Klaravich Stables

Trainer: Richard Violette Jr.

4. West Virginia

Pedigree: Tomorrows Cat-Wild and Wonderful

Breeder: Donald and Mary Zuckerman

Owner: Donald and Mary Zuckerman

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

5. Chowder's First

Pedigree: Let Goodtimes Roll-Stay Loose

Breeder: Wonderland Breeding LLC

Owner: Inniscarra Stable Inc.

Trainer: Phil Serpe

Older females

There are no standouts in this division, but several talented fillies and mares competed successfully in stakes. Cologny and Travelator were familiar rivals throughout the year in restricted and graded stakes. Cologny won the Susan B. Anthony at Finger Lakes and the Scotzanna at Belmont Park while defeating Travelator. Cologny also finished ahead of Travelator in the Grade 3 Floral Park and the Schenectady in September at Belmont. Travelator won the Artic Queen at Finger Lakes and the Regret at Monmouth Park. A nod has to go to Board Elligible, who has won four races this year, including the White Carnation on the Belmont Stakes undercard, and finished fourth in two Grade 1's, the Personal Ensign and Beldame.

1. Cologny

Pedigree: Go for Gin-C. J.'s Sister

Breeder: Jerry Bilinski, Martin Zaretsky, and Joseph Cornacchia

Owner: Evan Gewirtz

Trainer: Scott Lake

2. Board Elligible

Pedigree: Goldminers Gold-Double Boarded

Breeder: Dr. Bernard Abramovici

Owner: Rudina Stable

Trainer: James Ferraro

3. Travelator

Pedigree: A. P Jet-Rajadiddle

Breeder: Michael and Raylene Anchel

Owner: Our Sugar Bear Stable

Trainer: Stanley Hough

4. Beautiful America

Pedigree: Dixie Brass-Eyeofbeauty

Breeder: Thomas C. Ryba

Owner: Chester and Mary Broman

Trainer: Ramon Hernandez

5. Sensibly Chic

Pedigree: Distorted Humor-Rajana's Honor

Breeder: McMahon Thoroughbreds and WinStar Farm

Owner: Lois Nervitt

Trainer: Tim Tullock Jr.

3-year-old fillies

This is a very deep division. Capeside Lady, who won last year's Maid of the Mist and was named New York-bred champion 2-year-old filly, gets top billing based on her win in the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks. Sugar Punch defeated Cologny by 3 1/2 lengths in the Schenectady in her last start to run her record to 5 for 5 this year. So Sweet a Cat looked awesome winning a division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Saratoga by eighth lengths and is 5 for 7 this season. This strong group of fillies also includes stakes winners Then She Laughs, Fait Accompli, and Rodeo Licious. Fleet Indian gets honorable mention for winning her first four starts in eye-catching fashion.

1. Capeside Lady

Pedigree: Cape Town-Gray Lady

Breeder: Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin

Owner: So Madcapt Stable and Michael Cascio

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

2. Sugar Punch

Pedigree: K.O. Punch-Wading Maggie

Breeder: D'Arrigo and Lynch Racing

Owner: IEAH Stables, Joe Torre, et. al.

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

3. So Sweet a Cat

Pedigree: Tomorrows Cat-Sly Damsel

Breeder: Jane M. Freed

Owner: Jane M. Freed

Trainer: Ralph D'Alessandro

4. Then She Laughs

Pedigree: Distorted Humor-Dances With Quack

Breeder: Edition Farm

Owner: Vincent Papandrea

Trainer: Martin Ciresa

5. Rodeo Licious

Pedigree: Rodeo-Shorty's Promise

Breeder: Glenn Brok

Owner: Our Blue Streaks Stable

Trainer: Bruce Levine


Well Fancied isn't just a sprinter, as evidenced by his win in last year's Empire Classic, but his victories this year in the General George and Toboggan, races where he earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures, put him at the top of this division. With Well Fancied on the sidelines, Clever Electrician is the best New York-bred sprinter in training. With five wins from nine starts this year, Clever Electrician's most important victories came in the John Morrissey at Saratoga and the General Douglas MacArthur at Belmont Park. Friendly Island hasn't won in stakes company yet, but looks like he is ready to take the next step. Top Shoter and Uncle Camie have run consistently well throughout the season.

1. Well Fancied

Pedigree: Prosper Fager-Patty's Fancy Tric

Breeder: Seymour Cohn

Owner: Sanford Goldfarb and Stewart Hoffman

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

2. Clever Electrician

Pedigree: Clever Trick-Loose Wire

Breeder: Driver and Ferguson

Owner: Gumpster Stable LLC

Trainer: Bruce Levine

3. Friendly Island

Pedigree: Crafty Friend-Island Queen

Breeder: Kildare Stud and Adrian Regan

Owner: Anstu Stables

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

4. Top Shoter

Pedigree: Ormsby-Rajadiddle

Breeder: Michael Anchel

Owner: Charlton Baker

Trainer: Charlton Baker

5. Uncle Camie

Pedigree: Abaginone-Final Style

Breeder: Carmine Telesca

Owner: Carmine Telesca and Marilyn Guerrera

Trainer: Michael Hushion

2-year-old fillies

Megascape, who won the Joseph A. Gimma at Belmont Park earlier this month, leads this division. Reddy for Rubys ran poorly in the Gimma, but won the Lady Finger Stakes in her prior start at Finger Lakes. Brassy Boots has already run seven times and has two wins, including one against statebred males. Social Virtue and Royal Fudge finished second and third in the Gimma.

1. Megascape

Pedigree: Cape Canaveral-Bigger Half

Breeder: Sez Who Thoroughbreds

Owner: Robert Beck

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

2. Reddy for Rubys

Pedigree: Precise End-Diamondsandrubys

Breeder: Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin

Owner: Anthony Grey et. al.

Trainer: Dominic Galluscio

3. Brassy Boots

Pedigree: Dixie Brass-Explosive Prospect

Breeder: Ted Shapiro

Owner: Ted Shapiro

Trainer: Howie Tesher

4. Social Virtue

Pedigree: Elusive Quality-Mercury Direct

Breeder: John Pregman Jr.

Owner: Jerry Campbell

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

5. Royal Fudge

Pedigree: Carson City-Chocolate Fudge

Breeder: Donald and Mary Zuckerman

Owner: Alnoff Stable

Trainer: Ken McPeek

2-year-old males

Galloping Grocer hasn't been tested in a stakes yet, but his connections did give some thought to running him in the Grade 1 Champagne. They decided the gelding needed more time to get over a lung infection he caught after winning his last start. Galloping Grocer looked like the real deal in his first two starts, although his Beyer Speed Figure for his second win (77) was considerably lower than the number for his career debut (95). Caribbean Cruiser won his first three starts, including two stakes at Finger Lakes, in easy fashion. Up Like Thunder won the Bertram F. Bongard by 4 3/4 lengths and earned an 88 Beyer. Freddy the Cap and Accurate finished second and third in the Bongard.

1. Galloping Grocer

Pedigree: A. P Jet-Little Evie

Breeder: Robert Rosenthal and Estate of Ira Waldbaum

Owner: Robert Rosenthal and Bernice Waldbaum

Trainer: Dominic Schettino

2. Caribbean Cruiser

Pedigree: Silver Ghost-Jack Betta Be Rite

Breeder: Star Track Farms

Owner: Star Track Farms

Trainer: Donna Bireta

3. Up Like Thunder

Pedigree: War Chant-With a Wink

Breeder: John Hettinger

Owner: Akindale Farm

Trainer: Nick Zito

4. Freddy the Cap

Pedigree: Precise End-Farma Speech

Breeder: Sez Who Thoroughbreds

Owner: Anita Velazquez

Trainer: Alfredo Velazquez

5. Accurate

Pedigree: Precise End-Love Destiny

Breeder: Sez Who Thoroughbreds

Owner: Puglisi Stables

Trainer: Steve Klesaris

Turf males

Quantum Merit's season was cut short by injury, but he had already done enough to place himself at the top of this list with his wins in the Grade 2 Firecracker Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs and the Kingston at Belmont. Little separates the horses below Quantum Merit. Golden Commander and Provincetown won restricted stakes. Irish Colonial was graded stakes-placed, and Foreverness was beaten less than a half-length in two stakes, including the Kingston, where Quantum Merit nosed him out.

1. Quantum Merit

Pedigree: Hansel-Just Flirting

Breeder: Gerald and Joanne Nielsen

Owner: Very Un Stable and Joseph Gioia

Trainer: Del Carroll II

2. Golden Commander

Pedigree: Deputy Commander-Golden Sweetheart

Breeder: Flying Zee Stables

Owner: Flying Zee Stables

Trainer: Phil Serpe

3. Provincetown

Pedigree: Crimson Guard-Pour Popsie

Breeder: Donald Jones and Jeanne T. Polese

Owner: Flying Zee Stables

Trainer: Patrick Biancone

4. Irish Colonial

Pedigree: Colonial Affair-A Rose for Shannon

Breeder: Howard C. Nolan and Fred Martin

Owner: Blue Sky Farm and Fred Martin

Trainer: Randy Schulhofer

5. Foreverness

Pedigree: Island Whirl-Dearness

Breeder: Harbor View Farm

Owner: Red Oak Stable

Trainer: Gregory Sacco

Turf females

Once Sabellina was placed on the grass in June, she reeled off four consecutive wins, including a nose decision in the Yaddo against older fillies and mares at Saratoga. Big Tease and Brandala took divisions of the Mt. Vernon at Belmont Park in the summer. Bobbie Use hasn't raced since March, but did win the Tropical Oaks against open company on New Year's Day at Calder. On the Bus finished to Sabellina in the Yaddo and was third behind Brandala in the Mt. Vernon.

1. Sabellina

Pedigree: Langfuhr-Restored Hope

Breeder: John Valentino

Owner: Jay Lieberman and Mark Scharfman

Trainer: Joe Aquilino

2. Brandala

Pedigree: Compliance-Sr. Ferra

Breeder: Sorin Stables

Owner: Sorin Stables

Trainer: Thomas Walsh

3. Big Tease

Pedigree: Gold Token-Another Rita

Breeder: Stonewall Farm

Owner: Sanford H. Robbins

Trainer: Dominic Galluscio

4. Bobbie Use

Pedigree: Not for Love-Truth and Beauty

Breeder: Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin

Owner Sanford Goldfarb

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.

5. On the Bus

Pedigree: Ghazi-Just Like Jill

Breeder: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Owner: Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey

Trainer: Dale Romans