09/20/2005 11:00PM

Funny Cide done till next year

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A back problem has forced Funny Cide to stop training indefinitely.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Funny Cide's troubled 5-year-old season is over.

A recurring back problem has forced trainer Barclay Tagg to pull Funny Cide out of training for a minimum of 30 days. He will be pointed to a 6-year-old campaign.

Funny Cide, the champion 3-year-old of 2003, went winless in three starts this year, including a sixth-place finish in the Suburban Handicap, his last start, on July 2. According to Robin Smullen, Tagg's assistant and Funny Cide's regular exercise rider, Funny Cide has had back issues since the Brooklyn, a race in which he was checked sharply entering the far turn en route to a fourth-place finish.

The back problem got worse during the early part of the Saratoga meet after Funny Cide worked two half-miles. After some time off, Funny Cide showed three more works between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 before the back started to become an issue again.

"He's had a recurring thoracic lumbar problem since the Brooklyn,'' Smullen said. "We would get it good enough to breeze and coming out of the breezes it reoccurs and he's sore again. We work on it and we get it better through acupuncture and therapy and we would get to the next breeze, we breeze him again and he takes two steps backwards. Simon [Harris] breezed him and said he has never felt a horse move as well as he's moving and that afternoon we would jog him down the shed row and he just looked terrible.''

Smullen said Funny Cide would get a minimum of 30 days away from the track and would walk the shed row and be turned out in the round pen. He will also continue to undergo acupuncture and other therapeutic work.

"Until we get his muscles healed and until there's no sensitivity in it on palpation then we will put him back in training after that,'' Smullen said. "We don't know how long that's going to be. We're going to start with 30 days and reevaluate in 30 days but it might be 60 days. Who knows?''

Borrego breezes toward Gold Cup

Borrego, the Pacific Classic winner, worked five furlongs in 1:00.45 Wednesday morning over Belmont's main track in preparation for the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 1. It was the fastest of 13 works at the distance.

With exercise rider Andy Durnin in the irons, Borrego was timed in fractions of 11.95 seconds, 23.73, 35.45, and was timed galloping out in 1:14. Durnin was pumping on him through the stretch.

"I just wanted to get a decent little work over the track today and see how he took to it,'' trainer Beau Greely said. "You never know till he runs but he seemed to take to it pretty nice. He's a very lazy work horse by himself and that was a good work for him. If we were to put him in company, he's a little more aggressive.''

Greely said Borrego would likely work an easy half-mile next Tuesday.

Big group for Noble Damsel

Cloakof Vagueness heads what is expected to be a large field in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel Handicap for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf.

Cloakof Vagueness, trained by Phil Hauswald, has won 3 of 5 starts this year, including the De La Rose Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 11. She came back 18 days later and finished sixth, beaten five lengths by the Australian champion Alinghi in the Grade 3 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"She was back a little farther than I thought she would be,'' Hauswald said. "She was down inside the whole way and when she got into the race she was still inside and behind a whole bunch of horses. When she got out the race was over. That being said, it might have been running her back a little too quick.''

Cloakof Vagueness will be reunited with Edgar Prado, who was aboard her De La Rose score. Cloakof Vagueness will carry high weight of 116 pounds along with My Lordship and Path of Thunder.

Others being pointed to the race are Movie Star, Bright Abundance, Brunilda, Fortunate Damsel, Humoristic, La Reina, Lentil, Asti, and Stormina.

Connie Belle by a nose in 'Mame'

Connie Belle was in front for precisely one stride in Wednesday's $67,750 Auntie Mame Stakes, but it was the right one as she nipped Silver Charades by a nose under Jerry Bailey.

Silver Charades, under Edgar Prado, split horses in the stretch to get the lead, while Connie Belle chased throughout and just got up. Connie Belle, owned by Stonerside Stable and trained by Bill Mott, covered the mile in 1:35.58 over a firm turf course.

* Pomeroy, prepping for the Grade 1 Vosburgh on Oct. 1, worked five furlongs in 1:00.58 Wednesday morning over the Saratoga training track. It was the fastest of 16 works at the distance.