04/27/2006 11:00PM

Funny Cide back in with statebreds

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Funny Cide (left), winless in eight starts since the fall of 2004, looked more like his old self finishing second in the Excelsior on April 1.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Funny Cide's return to statebred company for the first time since he was a 2-year-old highlights closing day Sunday at Aqueduct, which includes three restricted stakes.

Racing shifts to Belmont Park on Wednesday. The final Big A card features the $65,000 Kings Point Handicap at 1 1/8 miles and two $100,000 divisions of New York Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, which were rained out on April 23.

will be favored in the Kings Point. Funny Cide, now 6, was unbeaten in three juvenile starts, all statebred races. Since then, Funny Cide has faced only open company in a memorable career that includes Grade 1 victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and the 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Funny Cide has not won since the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a span of eight races. Trainer Barclay Tagg hopes this restricted race puts Funny Cide back in the winner's circle.

"It's what we're trying to do, find some little easier races for him," Tagg said. "We're trying to get his mind happy again. He's good physically. We're trying to get him winning again."

The Kings Point is class drop from Funny Cide's most recent effort, a game second in the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 1 here.

Funny Cide looked more like his old, competitive self in the Excelsior. He set a quick pace and refused to quit in the lane, battling back to earn the place spot behind West Virginia.

Funny Cide registered a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the race, breaking triple digits for the first time since a fourth in the 2005 Pimlico Special.

Richard Migliore, aboard for the first time in the Excelsior, has the return call on Funny Cide in the five-horse field.

has the best credentials of the upset candidates. A durable 4-year-old gelding trained by Tom Bush. Gold and Roses has won 2 of 3 at Aqueduct this year, including a commanding 4 1/2-length victory last time out in the one-mile Smart Coupons Stakes for New York-breds.

The quality of the competition and the distance are Bush's primary concerns.

"He's been a very solid horse who has been blessed with soundness," Bush said. "He's had a long campaign and he's held up awfully well.

"What hits you in this race is better competition and a longer distance. That's where our work is cut out for us. A mile and an eighth may be at the limit of his distance capabilities."

rolled to a pacesetting allowance win here against open company in his most recent outing. Delta Sea, the runner-up in that race, is also in the field along with Mike's Greenfields, a winner of two straight at Laurel.

* The New York Stallion Stakes, restricted to horses sired by New York-based stallions, was split into the Times Square for colts and geldings and the Park Avenue for fillies.

One Way Flight, third after setting the pace in the Grade 3 Bay Shore Stakes on April 8, faces nine rivals in the Times Square.

The field includes Strummer, winner of the Jimmy Winkfield here in January, and Say Tomorrow, a California-based gelding who most recently ran third in an off-the-turf allowance race at Golden Gate Fields.

Motor City Mama could be a key contender with a clean trip in the Park Avenue . She ran second in the Karakorum Splendor Stakes on March 17 after hitting the starting gate at the break.