By Mint Julep

2003 Kentucky Derby Winner Funny Cide

2003 kentucky derby winner funny cide

In 2003, a New York-bred gelding named Funny Cide and jockey José A. Santos shocked the racing world by winning the Kentucky Derby as underdogs. This thrilling victory showed how Sackatoga Stable’s dream became reality despite facing challenges. The duo overcame adversity to make history at Churchill Downs, leaving a lasting impact on horse racing. It proves that true champions can rise from unexpected beginnings, inspiring both the sport and its participants with their memorable win.

Background of Funny Cide and Ownership

In 2003, Funny Cide’s journey to victory at the Kentucky Derby was like something out of a fairy tale. This spirited gelding from New York surprised everyone by trotting into Churchill Downs with the heart of an underdog, instantly winning over fans worldwide who loved horse racing.

Owned by Sackatoga Stable, a group of buddies from upstate New York who dared to dream big, Funny Cide embodied true grit and determination in every stride he took on the track.

The story of Funny Cide and his happy-go-lucky owners wasn’t just about horse racing; it was about friendship and passion that went beyond money. Starting off in Sackett’s Harbor, they showed that belief and teamwork can overcome any obstacle – even beating fancier competition to win races.

As they proudly paraded down Victory Lane at Churchill Downs amid cheers and confetti showers after their unexpected triumph, Sackatoga Stable celebrated their momentous win. The chants of “Sackatoga! Sackatoga!” echoed through time as Funny Cide made his mark among racing legends. Winning this race wasn’t only about crossing the finish line first but also rewriting what it means to have faith in your horse against tough opponents.

After the Derby win came fame for Funny Cide as he galloped into history books, not just winning titles but stealing hearts along the way. From magazine covers to charity work off-track, he proved there was more than meets the eye beneath his shiny chestnut coat. Each step towards greatness post-Kentucky Derby victory brought heaps of praise – showing that real champions are made not just from lineage but also from relentless drive and unwavering spirit.

Road to the Kentucky Derby Contenders

During the 2003 Kentucky Derby season, unexpected injuries sidelined top favorites like Vindication, Toccet, and Sky Mesa, shaking up the competition. Racing fans eagerly awaited to see which horse would step up in their absence. Enter Empire Maker and Peace Rules – two promising colts trained by Bobby Frankel – who saw a chance to shine on racing’s biggest stage.

Empire Maker quickly became a strong contender with his majestic stride and unwavering determination leading up to the Derby. Meanwhile, Peace Rules brought a fierce competitive spirit that promised an exciting showdown on race day. As these rising stars progressed through qualifying races and training sessions, rumors of potential victory began circulating around them.

The absence of seasoned favorites opened the door for new contenders at Churchill Downs in 2003. With Empire Maker’s grace contrasting Peace Rules’ grit displayed for all horse racing fans to see, excitement peaked before “the most thrilling two minutes in sports.” The unfolding drama against this backdrop served as a powerful reminder that in horse racing – much like life itself – success favors those willing to seize opportunities when they arise amidst uncertainty.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Racing icons impress and fascinate fans with their incredible talents.

  2. They infuse thrill and honor into the world of horse racing.

  3. Their accomplishments inspire and drive aspiring athletes to reach for greatness.

  4. Often, these legends have intriguing backgrounds that enrich their legacy.

  5. Their triumphs produce memorable moments that etch themselves in sporting history.


  1. Racing legends often face immense pressure to perform at a high level, which can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being.

  2. Getting injured is a common risk in horse racing, putting an early end to the career of even the most legendary racers.

  3. These icons may find their privacy invaded due to the intense scrutiny and public attention they receive.

  4. It can be tough for them to consistently meet expectations over time and maintain peak performance, posing a significant challenge.

  5. The competitive nature of racing sometimes overshadows the personal happiness and well-being of these legends.

Surprise Victory at Churchill Downs

In 2003, on a sunny day at Churchill Downs, something extraordinary happened. Funny Cide and jockey José A. Santos galloped to victory at the Kentucky Derby, beating the odds as a moderate longshot at 13:1. Their unexpected triumph made history and left everyone watching amazed.

This win was special for Funny Cide and his team in many ways. He became the first gelding since Exterminator in 1929 to win the Kentucky Derby and proudly held the title of being the first New York-bred horse to do so. This underdog story captured hearts around the world, showing that dreams can come true even in unpredictable situations on racing’s biggest stage.

After their incredible victory, Funny Cide and Santos became instant sensations within racing circles and beyond. Fans were inspired by their determination displayed that remarkable day at Churchill Downs as they went from underrated contenders to champions amidst roaring applause.

Following his Derby success, Funny Cide ventured into new challenges across American racetracks aiming for greatness once again. While some doubted if this unlikely champion could repeat his glory, others eagerly awaited each race day wondering if he would make history once more with unwavering determination.

Funny Cide’s legacy goes beyond numbers; it symbolizes resilience, hope, and belief in one’s abilities against all odds—a timeless lesson reminding us of life’s unpredictability where dreams can take flight unexpectedly—a message not just for those passionate about racing but for anyone daring enough to chase after their own version of victory no matter how impossible it may seem.

Race Day Results and Historic Milestones

Funny Cide’s win at the 2003 Kentucky Derby was simply amazing. The horse, an underdog owned by a group of friends from high school called Sackatoga Stable, beat the odds and raced to victory in an exciting way. Jockey Jose Santos skillfully guided Funny Cide through the competition, showing incredible talent and determination that captured fans around the world.

This triumph was not only big for Funny Cide but also for his team. Trainer Barclay Tagg’s thorough preparation paid off as Funny Cide galloped into racing history books. This surprising win pushed Tagg and Sackatoga Stable into the limelight, securing their spots in Derby history.

After winning the Kentucky Derby, Funny Cide went on to win the Preakness Stakes with energy, thrilling spectators once again with his strength and speed. While he didn’t quite clinch victory in the Belmont Stakes for a Triple Crown title, Funny Cide left behind a legacy of perseverance and spirit that resonated beyond just racing.

Looking back now, Funny Cide’s extraordinary journey reminds us that greatness can come from unexpected places. His story continues to inspire race fans of all ages and is remembered as one of those unforgettable moments in Kentucky Derby history—a lasting tribute to courage, resilience ,and pure equine excellence.”

Top Performers in the Winner's Circle

Program Number Horse Name Win Place Show
6 Funny Cide US$27.60 $12.40 $8.20
12 Empire Maker $5.80 $4.40
5 Peace Rules $6.00

Post-derby Controversy Surrounding Jockey Santos

After Funny Cide made history by winning the 2003 Kentucky Derby, jockey José A. Santos faced a whirlwind of controversy when people began to suspect him of using an illegal device during the race. The pictures from that day were confusing and sparked lots of gossip in the racing world and beyond.

As rumors grew louder, national media outlets jumped on this scandalous story, putting Santos under a harsh spotlight just after what should have been his big moment riding Funny Cide. With cameras watching his every move and experts analyzing each detail closely, things took an unexpected turn after the Derby as doubts arose about Santos’ honesty and tactics on the racetrack.

Despite facing tough questions and having his character questioned, José A. Santos stood up for himself against these damaging claims. Investigations later showed that he had done nothing wrong during that famous day at Churchill Downs where Funny Cide triumphed.

While José A. Santos managed to navigate through turbulent times following Funny Cide’s Derby win amid swirling accusations, this chapter left a lasting impact not only on his career but also served as a reminder of how success can quickly be overshadowed by trouble in the competitive world of horse racing.

Subsequent Racing Successes of Key Horses

After the Kentucky Derby, horses like Funny Cide captured the hearts of racing fans. Funny Cide’s big win at the Preakness Stakes showed off his amazing talent and determination on the racetrack. Empire Maker proved himself as a tough competitor in horse racing by winning the Belmont Stakes.

Peace Rules impressed everyone with a victory at the Haskell Invitational, proving that these amazing horses were not just one-time winners but contenders who could consistently excel. Ten Most Wanted showed he was a force to be reckoned with by winning at Travers Stakes, adding another impressive accomplishment to his record. Offlee Wild’s triumph at Suburban Handicap showcased yet another example of post-Derby success for key horses.

These wins highlighted not only the skill and versatility of these incredible animals but also demonstrated their resilience and spirit. Each race posed unique challenges, but these horses overcame them time after time, leaving spectators amazed by their track performance. The legacy they created after the Kentucky Derby continues to inspire new generations of riders and fans alike, showing that true champions are defined by ongoing excellence rather than just one moment of glory.

Mythical Tales and Fascinating Facts: Funny Cide

  1. ### The Legend of Funny Cide: A Story That Will Make You Smile

  2. **Against All Odds:** Picture this – a horse named Funny Cide, born and raised in New York, shocked everyone by winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby back inHe was no ordinary horse; being a gelding, he hadn't won since Clyde Van Dusen did it way back in 1929! Fans were amazed by his unexpected triumph.

  3. **The Dream Team:** Imagine this scenario – Funny Cide was trained by Barclay Tagg and owned by Sackatoga Stable, a group of buddies from high school who decided to invest just $75,000 to buy him. This unlikely combination took the racing world by storm with their incredible success story that resonated far and wide.

  4. **Chasing Greatness:** After his big win at the Kentucky Derby, Funny Cide went on to conquer the Preakness Stakes as well, setting himself up for an epic shot at winning the Triple Crown! Although he finished third in the Belmont Stakes later on, his courageous effort captured hearts everywhere and etched his name into racing history books.

  5. **Adored Everywhere:** With his eye-catching chestnut coat and striking white blaze marking on his face, Funny Cide quickly became a darling among fans not only for his exceptional speed but also for his fun-loving personality. People couldn't get enough of him at race tracks all over America; wherever he raced, crowds followed!

  6. **Life After Racing:** Fast forward to 2007 when our hero retired from competitive racing and settled down for a well-deserved break at the serene Kentucky Horse Park. Even today, people remember him fondly as an adored champion who symbolized resilience – inspiring both die-hard racing enthusiasts and animal lovers alike with tales of determination against all odds.

Notable Progeny From Participants

Empire Maker had some amazing horses like Royal Delta and Bodemeister as offspring. They won a lot of big races after the Derby. These fast and strong horses showed off their skills on the racetrack, exciting fans with their awesome performances. Royal Delta was a top winner in many Grade 1 races, winning over fans with her fierce determination and smooth running style as she dominated tough competitions, proving she belonged among the best in horse racing.

Offlee Wild also had successful babies like Bayern and She Be Wild who did really well in important events. The family line from Offlee Wild turned out to be perfect for making champions who would go down in history books for their achievements in horse racing. Bayern’s speed and never-give-up attitude helped him win major races, putting his name alongside other greats known for their incredible talent on the track. Similarly, She Be Wild’s victories were proof of her inherited excellence that ran through generations from her talented parents.

These famous horses didn’t just have success at the Derby; they also influenced future stars who shone brightly at prestigious racecourses around the world. Thanks to careful breeding plans and a dedication to being excellent both during training sessions and actual races, Empire Maker and Offlee Wild built legacies that lasted through different generations within thoroughbred racing circles. Their young ones not only carried on proud family traditions but also created unique paths full of glory by showing resilience amidst competition while earning respect from fans mesmerized by amazing horse abilities at its peak performance level

Lasting Impact on Horse Racing Industry

When Funny Cide unexpectedly won the Kentucky Derby in 2003, it shook up the horse racing world and showed that anything can happen in this sport. This victory wasn’t just a win; it was a bold statement—a message that even underdogs have a shot at glory and can outperform the favorites. Funny Cide’s journey from an unassuming New York-bred colt to Derby champion captured the hearts of fans who witnessed history being made on that unforgettable day.

Looking back on Funny Cide’s incredible achievement reminds us why we love sports—the excitement of unpredictability, the happiness of witnessing remarkable moments unfold right before our eyes. This surprising win inspired aspiring racehorses and their connections worldwide, demonstrating that with determination, grit, and perhaps a bit of luck, dreams can become reality within seconds on the track.

After his stunning triumph at Churchill Downs, Funny Cide didn’t fade into obscurity like some one-hit wonders often do. Instead, he continued to impress audiences across racetracks nationwide with notable victories in prestigious races such as the Preakness Stakes later that same year. His legacy went beyond his monumental Derby win; it served as proof of resilience and persistence in an industry where success is typically judged by pedigree and money.

Funny Cide’s impact exceeded mere numbers or awards—he represented hope for smaller stables aiming high against tough competition. Trainers and owners started rethinking how they choose horses for top-tier races because they realized talent could emerge unexpectedly if given proper care and opportunity. The sound of his powerful hooves crossing finish lines lingered long after each race—serving as both inspiration and motivation for those willing to challenge traditional norms within horse racing.

As time passed since Funny Cide triumphed at Churchill Downs under twin spires, his story remained engraved in horse racing history—a reminder that legends aren’t always born from famous bloodlines but are sometimes created through sheer determination against all odds. His lasting influence resonated throughout the industry like ripples on water—forever altering perceptions about what truly defines champions in this unpredictable realm where speed meets spirit harmoniously.

Legacy of Sackatoga Stable and Barclay Tagg

Sackatoga Stable’s incredible journey with Funny Cide not only won the hearts of fans who love rooting for the underdog but also made a lasting impact on the horse racing world. Their win at the 2003 Kentucky Derby proved that in this sport, where money often rules, all you really need is a group of passionate people and a talented horse to make history. Trainer Barclay Tagg showed his strategic skills as he expertly guided Funny Cide from being overlooked to becoming a champion on one of horse racing’s biggest stages.

Before their big triumph with Funny Cide, Barclay Tagg may have been flying under the radar. But after their amazing victory at Churchill Downs, his name became well-known for skillful horsemanship and unwavering dedication. The pair’s success led to more wins together, including an impressive victory at the Preakness Stakes just two weeks later. Tagg demonstrated that luck wasn’t what brought them glory; it was pure talent combined with careful planning and an unbreakable bond between trainer, jockey (Jose Santos), and horse.

The legacy created by Sackatoga Stable and Barclay Tagg went beyond just numbers or trophies; they represented hope for anyone dreaming of making it big despite facing tough odds in pursuit of greatness. Their story reminds us that in horse racing – much like life itself – unexpected heroes can rise from humble beginnings to leave their mark on sports history forevermore.


1. What made Funny Cide's victory at the 2003 Kentucky Derby so historic?

Funny Cide made history by winning the 2003 Kentucky Derby as he became the first horse bred in New York to do so in more than a hundred years. This victory, with its underdog tale and relentless determination, won over fans around the globe.

2. How did Funny Cide defy the odds to win the Kentucky Derby as an underdog?

Funny Cide shocked everyone by winning the Kentucky Derby as an underdog. He was the first horse bred in New York to win at Churchill Downs in over 100 years. This showed his determination and skill on one of horse racing's grandest stages.

3. What impact did Funny Cide's win have on the world of horse racing?

Funny Cide's win at the 2003 Kentucky Derby didn't just make fans worldwide happy with his surprising victory as an underdog. It also got more people excited about horse racing again, showing that unexpected success on the racetrack is possible and giving hope to all those who love the sport.

4. Where does Funny Cide's 2003 Kentucky Derby victory rank among other memorable moments in horse racing history?

Funny Cide made history in 2003 by winning the Kentucky Derby, which is considered one of the most memorable moments in horse racing. The New York-bred gelding overcame the odds to become the first gelding since 1929 to claim victory in this prestigious race. Fans around the world were captivated by his underdog tale and rooted for him throughout his journey.

5. How did Funny Cide's career progress after winning the Kentucky Derby?

Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby in 2003, then went on to win the Preakness Stakes. He became the first horse bred in New York to win two legs of the Triple Crown, making his mark in racing history.

6. What set Funny Cide apart from other competitors in the 2003 Kentucky Derby field?

Funny Cide won the 2003 Kentucky Derby with his strong determination, excellent teamwork with jockey Jose Santos, and an underdog attitude that charmed fans around the globe.