08/08/2007 12:00AM

Big day to laud Funny Cide


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It will be all Funny Cide all the time Friday at Saratoga as the New York Racing Association hosts a no-holds-barred retirement party for the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

The connections of Funny Cide elected to retire the gelding following his victory in the Wadsworth Memorial Handicap at Finger Lakes on July 4. Funny Cide won 11 of 38 starts, earned $3,529,412 and was the champion 3-year-old of 2003.

Among the numerous festivities planned will be a public appearance by Funny Cide, who is now the stable pony for trainer Barclay Tagg. Funny Cide will lead the post parade for the fourth race, a maiden event for New York-breds at seven furlongs. Funny Cide, foaled at nearby McMahon farm, was the first New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby.

The members of Sackatoga Stable as well as jockey Jose Santos will sign a poster that will be given away to all paying patrons. The poster is a caricature of Funny Cide relaxing in a lawn chair, chomping a cigar, and sporting a summer beverage. In the background is a picture of the popular yellow school bus the Sackatoga group rode to all three Triple Crown races.

Funny Cide will be presented an edible Rolex watch, while a real Rolex watch will be raffled off to the crowd courtesy of N. Fox Jewelers. All proceeds will benefit the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Throughout the day, highlights of Funny Cide's career will air on monitors throughout the track.

The day's festivities will culminate with a party held at the Big Red Spring following the races featuring the local band Blue Hand Luke.

Had Funny Cide not been retired, he would have been eligible to run in Friday's fifth race against his old friend Evening Attire. Friday's fifth race is a classified allowance race worth $79,000 that could easily be a graded stakes.

In 2004, Evening Attire beat Funny Cide in the now-defunct Saratoga Breeders' Cup. Overall, Evening Attire is 5 for 10 at Saratoga, and despite being a 9-year-old, he won the Stymie Handicap in March.

"He loves it up here," said trainer Pat Kelly. "He's been leaning on [exercise rider Danny Vogt] pretty good. You don't know he's 9 years old. He goes crazy in the afternoon when he hears the races, He jumps, he kicks, he's worse than the babies."

After competing against some of the best handicap horses in the country, Hesanoldsalt found a somewhat easier spot in here.

"It's lighter than a Grade 1, lighter than the William Schaefer, it's a good race," trainer Nick Zito said. "He's training great, He's a tough son of a gun."