06/03/2007 11:00PM

Purse hike lures Funny Cide


Officials at Finger Lakes have reached an agreement with the connections of Funny Cide to raise the purse of the Wadsworth Memorial Handicap from $50,000 to $100,000 in order to lure the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to the western New York facility.

The Wadsworth, a dirt race run at 1 1/8 miles, will be run July 4. It is believed to be the first time a Kentucky Derby winner will race at Finger Lakes. The decision to raise the purse was finalized Monday, said Finger Lakes president and general manager Chris Riegle, who had ongoing talks with Jack Knowlton, head of the Sackatoga syndicate which owns Funny Cide.

"We've known Jack for a couple of years," Riegle said. "We had a couple of Funny Cide promotions before and he was interested in bringing the horse here."

Funny Cide, who has won 10 of 37 starts and banked more than $3.4 million, has not won since taking the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine last July 1. He has lost his last six starts, including a third-place finish in the Wagon Limit Stakes at Belmont on May 18.

On Sunday, Funny Cide worked five furlongs in 1:00.46 at Belmont Park.