Updated on 09/17/2011 1:36PM

Funny Cide scratched from Pimlico Special


BALTIMORE - Funny Cide can't stand the heat, so trainer Barclay Tagg took him out of the race.

Tagg scratched Funny Cide from Friday's Grade 1, $500,000 Pimlico Special because of the extreme heat in Baltimore. At post time, the temperature was 86 degrees and the humidity was 46 percent.

"I scratched because it's too hot and the air quality's too bad, and I don't want to subject him to that," Tagg said Friday morning. "It was a tough decision, because he is doing very well and I think he'd like the distance. I know he likes that track, and I thought he would have done well in the race. But, I've got to do what's best for him."

Tagg has previously noted that Funny Cide ran the two worst races of his life in the heat. He finished a well-beaten third in the Haskell Invitational last August and came out of the race with a fever that sidelined him until fall. In his next start, Funny Cide ran ninth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, a day in which the temperature reached 99 degrees.

Tagg said he would nominate Funny Cide to the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap run May 31 at Belmont Park and the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap run June 19 at Suffolk Downs, "and run him where it's cool and nowhere if it's not."

Eight of the 10 members of Sackatoga Stable, the partnership that owns Funny Cide, were at Pimlico on Friday for a book- and poster-signing. Jack Knowlton, the managing partner of Sackatoga, said his group was on board with Tagg's decision.

"Certainly this didn't seem like the day to do it," Knowlton said. "Last year, what happened to him in the Haskell, we certainly don't want to repeat that. There are a lot of nice races, and you're not going to make all of them. We're hoping we can make enough of them to make us happy, the fans happy, and the horse happy."

Knowlton said he didn't fear having to keep Funny Cide in the barn for months if it remains hot.

"You don't have this kind of weather on a continued basis," Knowlton said. "Could you be unlucky and run two or three [more] times? We've got four races already. How many races do good handicap horses run in in a year?"

This year, Funny Cide has won an allowance race and the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap. In between, he finished third in both the Donn Handicap and the New Orleans Handicap.