06/27/2006 11:00PM

Funny Cide adds holiday sparkle

Adam Coglianese / NYRA
When Funny Cide runs in the Dominion Day, he'll be the fifth Kentucky Derby winner to race here.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Funny Cide might not be the horse he once was, but he'll always be a Kentucky Derby winner.

And that's why Funny Cide, despite being 6 years old and having had 23 starts since his 2003 Kentucky Derby triumph, will be in the spotlight when he makes his first Canadian appearance in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Dominion Day here at Woodbine.

Funny Cide will become only the fifth Kentucky Derby winner to subsequently race at Woodbine, and the second in the Dominion Day.

Decidedly, who won the 1962 Kentucky Derby, ventured to Woodbine the following summer and won the Dominion Day.

Northern Dancer, who raced at Fort Erie, Woodbine, and Greenwood as a 2-year-old, returned to Woodbine following his triumph in the 1964 Kentucky Derby and made what turned out to be his final career start in the Queen's Plate.

Secretariat, winner of the U.S. Triple Crown, concluded his career as scheduled at Woodbine in the fall of 1973 with a dramatic victory in the Canadian International.

Sea Hero, the upset winner of the 1993 Kentucky Derby, was unable to follow the example of his predecessors, as he finished third late that summer in the Molson Million, which was won by the Canadian Triple Crown winner Peteski.

Funny Cide's trainer, Barclay Tagg, has had just three starters at Woodbine in his long career. Tagg saddled Macaw for a second-place finish in the 2003 Canadian International, more than seven years after sending out La Turka to run second in the Dance Smartly.

Next Endeavor finished 10th for Tagg in the 1995 Canadian International.

Richard Migliore, who has taken over as Funny Cide's regular rider, won the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor with Volga at Woodbine in 2003 and the Grade 2 Grey here with Wando in 2002.

Casse takes second shot at Funny Cide

Trainer Mark Casse will send out Arch Hall for the Dominion Day, and he has some previous competitive history with Funny Cide.

Added Edge, who was Canada's champion 2-year-old male, was on the Kentucky Derby trail in 2003 when he ran in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream. Funny Cide, also in that Holy Bull field, finished fifth at 5-1 while Added Edge ended up last of 13 as the 9-5 favorite and suffered an injury that ended his Derby dreams.

"I think it will be fun to see Funny Cide again," said Casse. "I understand he's done a few things since I saw him last."

Meanwhile, Arch Hall is coming into the Dominion Day after ending up second as the odds-on choice in the restricted Steady Growth at 1 1/16 miles here June 10.

Arch Hall, an Ontario-bred 5-year-old horse owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, hit the front in midstretch that day but failed to fend off the resurgent front-runner Barbeau Ruckus. Casse speculates that Arch Hall pulled himself up once he made the lead.

"He did that in one of his races at Oaklawn, too," said Casse, referring to Arch Hall's second-place finish in the Grade 3 Fifth Season at 1 1/16 miles this spring.

Meanwhile, Arch Hall has yet to race beyond 1 1/16 miles, but Casse believes the horse will handle the Dominion Day distance.

"My theory is that if they can run a mile and a sixteenth or a mile and an eighth, then they'll go a mile and a quarter," said Casse. "It's just a matter of whether they'll rate or not, and he will."

Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride Arch Hall for the first time.

Silky Smooth to make debut in My Dear Stakes

Casse trains no fewer than nine of the 40 nominees for Sunday's $125,000 My Dear Stakes, but planned to enter only the first-time starter Silky Smooth.

The My Dear, an open five-furlong race, is the first stakes of the meeting for 2-year-old fillies.

Silky Smooth, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Mr. Greeley, is owned by Woodford Racing.

Casse has won two of the last five runnings of the My Dear - with Jealous Forum in 2001 and with Quite a Ruckus in her career debut in 2004.

Quick Emotions works for My Dear

Quick Emotions, trained by Danny Vella, worked four furlongs in 49.20 seconds on the training track Wednesday and also is slated to run in the My Dear.

Owned by The Four Score Racing Stable, Quick Emotions was an impressive winner over two furlongs in her debut here April 29.

"She spent 30 days on the farm after that, but she never missed any training," said Vella. "She's been back in since the end of May."

If all goes well, Quick Emotions could move on from the My Dear to the $150,000 Shady Well, a five-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-old fillies here July 16.

Like a Gem eyes Damsel

Like a Gem, who spent some time on the farm following her last-place finish in the June 11 Woodbine Oaks, breezed three furlongs in 39.60 Wednesday.

"She seems to be herself," said Vella. "I plan to work her five-eighths on the turf here Tuesday, and if she works well I might run her in the Ontario Damsel."

The $150,000 Ontario Damsel, a 6 1/2-furlong turf race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies, will be run here July 9.