04/14/2005 11:00PM

Funny Cide state's best again

Funny Cide wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the highlight of a 2004 campaign that garnered statebred honors.

Classic winner Funny Cide repeated as horse of the year at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. annual awards dinner on Monday. State divisional champions, human and equine, were honored for their accomplishments at 2004 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany.

A multiple graded stakes winner as a 4-year-old last year, Funny Cide had a busy season of racing, peaking with a victory in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Through three seasons of racing, Funny Cide is the leading money-winning New York-bred in history with earnings of $3,174,485. He has a record of 8-4-5 from 21 starts.

Owned by Sackatoga Stable, he was also honored as champion older male for 2004.

Funny Cide was New York champion 2-year-old of 2002, and state horse of the year and champion 3-year-old of 2003, when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He also was the Eclipse champion 3-year-old.

Trained by Barclay Tagg and ridden by Jose Santos, Funny Cide, a son of Distorted Humor, was bred by WinStar Farm.

"We hope to keep the team together for a few more years," said Jack Knowlton, general manager of Sackatoga Stable, which owns Funny Cide.

Knowlton said the 5-year-old gelding is nearing his 2005 debut, which could come against fellow statebreds in the Kings Point Handicap on May 1 at Aqueduct. He added that Funny Cide will have a lighter campaign this year, culminating with the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

Several state champions were also graded stakes winners in 2004.

The 2-year-old filly champion, Megascape, won the Grade 3 Valley Stream Stakes at Aqueduct, while champion sprinter Well Fancied captured the Grade 2 General George Stakes and Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap.

Megascape was bred by Sez Who Thoroughbreds, who had three juveniles up for awards, while Well Fancied was bred by Seymour Cohn.

Friends Lake, who shared champion 3-year-old male honors with Commentator, won the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Commentator captured the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland. Chester and Mary Broman bred Friends Lake, while Michael Martinez bred Commentator.

One of the most accomplished New York-breds of 2004 was the co-champion 3-year-old filly, Capeside Lady, winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks. She also won the Little Silver Stakes and finished second in the Grade 3 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks.

Capeside Lady posted consecutive Beyer Speed Figures of 103, 106, and 105 in the Little Silver, Monmouth Oaks, and Indiana Oaks. She shared the division title with Sugar Punch, who was unbeaten in six starts last year while racing in restricted company.

Capeside Lady was bred by Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin, who had three horses up for awards, while Sugar Punch was bred by D'Arrigo and Lynch Racing.

Another graded-stakes-winning champion was Quantum Merit as best turf male. Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Nielsen, he captured the Grade 2 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs.

The other winners at the ceremony were Galloping Grocer as best 2-year-old, bred by Robert Rosenthal; Board Elligible as older female, bred by Dr. Bernard Abramovici; Sabellina as turf female, bred by John Valentino; and Almost There in the steeplechase division, bred by Peter Triano and Mat Stable.

Gary Contessa, trainer of stakes winner Successfully Sweet, was named trainer of the year.

Contessa noted that New York-breds accounted for $1.6 million of the $2.6 million earned by his stable in 2004.

Jockey of the year was Richard Migliore, who piloted Friends Lake in the Florida Derby and also rode the winners of the Mount Vernon and Kingston handicaps.

The freshman sire award was given to Catienus, the Highcliff Farm stallion owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

"We are really proud of our Storm Cat stallion in New York," said Ken Ramsey.

The breeder of the year award went to Chester and Mary Broman, who bred and campaigned Friends Lake.

They acquired his dam, Grade 1 winner Antespend, for $900,000 from the Elmendorf Farm dispersal at Keeneland in 1997.

The Bromans tapped in to New York history when they purchased Chestertown Farm from the late Dr. Dominick DeLuke in 1994. Located near Friends Lake in upstate New York, it was known as Assunta Louis Farm when DeLuke owned it.

Rep. John Sweeney of New York was the guest speaker at the dinner. He spoke about federal legislation aimed at ending horse slaughter for food consumption in the United States. He and fellow House of Representatives member Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, who also attended the awards dinner, are co-sponsors of the legislation.