Updated on 09/17/2011 10:32AM

Back to Belmont for Funny Cide

Funny Cide (gray cap) accelerates past Peace Rules enroute to a convincing 9 3/4-length win in the Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE - Funny Cide left Pimlico Race Course exactly three hours after he crossed the wire in Saturday's and headed back late at night to Belmont Park, where he is based, and where on June 7 he will attempt to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and first since Affirmed in 1978.

Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Funny Cide, on Sunday morning said thought the home-field advantage would help Funny Cide.

"Naturally it gives you confidence," Tagg said in a conference call. "He likes the track. He trains well there every day."

And he is unbeaten there, having won the first three starts of his career at Belmont Park last fall.

Funny Cide won the Preakness by nearly 10 lengths under jockey Jose Santos. He won the Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths on May 3. He is the 27th horse who has won at least the first two legs of the Triple Crown, and the ninth since Affirmed. The eight previous horses since 1978 - Spectacular Bid, Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, and, last year, War Emblem - all lost the Belmont.

A crowd of 103,222 was announced at last year's Belmont. A huge crowd should be in the offing again this year, because an outstanding group of well-regarded runners is expected to challenge Funny Cide.

Among those who passed the Preakness to await the Belmont are Empire Maker, who was second in the Derby, and Atswhatimtalknbout, who was fourth in the Derby. Other possible runners include Dynever, the recent winner of the Lone Star Derby; Most Feared, the runner-up in the Lone Star Derby; Outta Here, seventh in the Kentucky Derby; Ten Most Wanted, ninth as the second choice in the Derby; and Best Minister, who won Saturday's Sir Barton Stakes on the Preakness undercard.

"There will be some fresh faces, of course, and our horse has had a pretty good campaign," Tagg said. "Hopefully he'll come out of it well. I think he'll handle it. But horses can fall apart on you. They're athletes, and they're under a lot of stress. I'm glad I didn't give him more than three races before the Derby. Hopefully the plan will work. It's worked up to now."