By Mint Julep


Barclay Tagg Trainer: One Kentucky Derby Winner

2003 kentucky derby winner funny cide

Join the exciting journey of Barclay Tagg, as we follow his incredible rise from a steeplechase jockey to a renowned Thoroughbred horse trainer. Witness his unforgettable victory at the historic Kentucky Derby in 2003 with Funny Cide. Discover Tagg’s special training techniques, impressive wins in races like the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, and his lasting impact on the racing world. Learn about the amazing horses he has trained, his dedication to excellence, and how he continues to strive for success on racing’s biggest stages.

Early Life and Career Beginnings

Born in Pennsylvania in 1937, Barclay Tagg had a natural connection to horses from the start. After graduating with a degree in Animal Husbandry from Penn State University in ’61, he began his journey into horse racing as a steeplechase jockey before transitioning to training Thoroughbreds. Tagg’s involvement in the equestrian world started long before his rise to fame on race days.

Tagg’s ability to understand these magnificent animals is more than just skill; it’s part of who he is. From modest beginnings to high-stakes competitions, Barclay has consistently shown that his distinctive approach sets him apart from others. His progression from jockey to trainer not only demonstrates versatility but also reflects his unwavering commitment to perfecting his craft and bringing out the best in every horse under his care.

With determination and elegance, Barclay Tagg has created a legacy unmatched in American horse racing history. While winning the Kentucky Derby with Funny Cide brought him significant attention, it was not mere chance – rather the result of years of hard work and dedication to excellence. As Tagg continues making an impact on racetracks nationwide, one thing remains clear: this skilled trainer proves that success comes from genuine passion and expertise honed over time.

Notable Achievements as a Trainer

Barclay Tagg has an extraordinary talent for developing horse racing stars that is truly unmatched. From winning the Kentucky Derby with Funny Cide in 2003 to claiming the Belmont Stakes title with Tiz the Law in 2020, Tagg has made a lasting impact on major American races. His skill as a trainer goes beyond just individual victories; it demonstrates his strong dedication and expertise in shaping champions that endure over time.

What sets Barclay Tagg apart is not only his ability to win races but also his deep connection with each horse he trains. He doesn’t view them simply as competitors on a track; he sees them as unique individuals full of untapped potential waiting to be unleashed. It’s his personal approach and innate understanding of horses’ behavior that distinguishes him from others in the field. Tagg isn’t just any trainer; he’s a whisperer who knows how to bring out the best in every horse under his care.

In an industry where success often relies on speed and strategy, Barclay Tagg brings something more profound—heart. His love for these magnificent animals shines through every step they take on the racetrack. With over 1,500 career wins and numerous significant victories, Tagg has solidified his legacy as a true master of Thoroughbred training within racing history books. As long as there are horses galloping down those tracks, Barclay Tagg will remain synonymous with excellence and commitment—a living legend amidst the sounds of hooves pounding and cheers resonating throughout time itself.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. They wow and mesmerize fans with their incredible accomplishments
  2. They set a great example for young jockeys and trainers to look up to
  3. They add to the long legacy and heritage of horse racing
  4. They create buzz and draw attention to big racing events
  5. Their impact is remembered and honored for years to come


  1. Feeling the weight of trying to meet lofty expectations can be a lot to handle
  2. Having all eyes on you and dealing with media attention can feel like an invasion of your space
  3. Pushing yourself in training and competing at the top level may result in injuries
  4. Juggling busy schedules and commitments leaves little time for personal life or privacy
  5. The competitive nature of sports can lead to burnout or feeling mentally drained

Unique Training Style and Approach

Barclay Tagg trains horses like a skilled conductor leading an orchestra, carefully crafting each training session to bring out the best in his equine athletes. He doesn’t view horses as just speed machines; instead, he sees them as unique beings with their own personalities and quirks. Whether dealing with a spirited colt or a gentle filly, Tagg invests time in understanding what motivates each horse, adapting his methods accordingly.

One of Tagg’s trademarks is his hands-on approach to every aspect of training. From grooming and feeding to devising exercise routines and race strategies, he leaves no stone unturned when preparing his horses for success on the track. This level of commitment distinguishes him from other trainers who may delegate these responsibilities to others. By being so actively involved in caring for his horses daily, Tagg forms deep connections that go beyond mere trainer-horse interactions.

Tagg’s personalized techniques have consistently produced impressive results over the years, especially evident in renowned races like the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. His skill in tailoring training plans based on individual horse requirements has led to champions capable of excelling at demanding distances with grace and speed. With an attention to detail sharper than a hawk hunting its prey, Tagg meticulously refines every aspect of preparation leading up to race days – often transforming underdogs into top contenders almost overnight.

In an industry where triumph can be as fleeting as a passing breeze, Barclay Tagg stands tall as a symbol of consistency and excellence across generations of Thoroughbred racing history. His legacy isn’t solely about winning trophies or setting records; it’s about instilling values such as patience, empathy, and hard work into every steed under his care – molding not only winners on paper but also ambassadors for the sport itself.

Impact on American Classics Races

Barclay Tagg’s expertise in working with Thoroughbreds was showcased by his groundbreaking win with Funny Cide at the 2003 Kentucky Derby. Ending a nearly twenty-year dry spell for trainers achieving such success on their first attempt, Tagg’s precise training techniques and sharp eye for talent were obvious as Funny Cide raced to victory under the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. This triumph not only marked a personal achievement but also signaled an era where Tagg would go on to make a lasting impact on American Classic races.

Soon after his Kentucky Derby victory, Barclay Tagg proved that it was no fluke when he guided Funny Cide to win the Preakness Stakes, further cementing his reputation as a trainer capable of guiding horses through tough Triple Crown challenges. With each step along those famous tracks, Tagg showed a unique mix of instinct and skill that sets him apart in the competitive world of Thoroughbred racing. His hands-on approach and unwavering commitment to nurturing equine talent stood out brightly as he led champions towards success.

As if conquering two parts of the Triple Crown wasn’t impressive enough, Barclay Tagg once again made history by winning the Belmont Stakes with Tiz The Law in 2020. In this modern age full of ever-evolving training methods and strategies, Tagg remained strong as an example of traditional horsemanship combined with innovative approaches tailored to bring out the best in every horse under his guidance. His enduring legacy isn’t just about victories or achievements but rather about how he has influenced future generations of trainers who dream of reaching similar heights on racing’s biggest stages.

Master Trainer Barclay Tagg: A Racing Legend

Attribute Information
Name Barclay Tagg
Occupation Horse trainer
Born December 30, 1937 (age 86) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
Career wins 1,514+ (ongoing)
Major racing wins Black Helen Handicap (1992), Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup Handicap (1992), Royal Palm Handicap (1994), Alabama Stakes (2003), Jockey Club Gold Cup (2004), Coolmore Lexington Stakes (2006), Colonial Turf Cup (2006), Secretariat Stakes (2006), Jamaica Breeders’ Cup Handicap (2006), Hollywood Derby (2006), Remsen Stakes (2006), Cornhusker Handicap (2007), Holy Bull Stakes (2007), Wood Memorial Stakes (2007, 2008), Red Smith Handicap (2007), Mrs. Revere Stakes (2007), Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (2007), Futurity Stakes (2007), U.S. Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (2007), Kent Breeders’ Cup Stakes (2007), Jamaica Handicap (2007), Tampa Bay Derby (2008), Suburban Handicap (2009), Cigar Mile Handicap, Beaugay Stakes (1999, 2009, 2010), Kelso Handicap (2012), Appalachian Stakes (2013), Lake Placid Stakes (2013), Comely Stakes (2016), Travers Stakes (2020)
Significant horses Funny Cide, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Showing Up, Big Truck, Tale of Ekati, Tiz the Law

Significant Horses Trained by Barclay Tagg

Barclay Tagg has left a lasting mark on the world of training Thoroughbreds, with the incredible journey of Funny Cide serving as a prime example. This New York-bred gelding captured hearts and headlines, going from humble beginnings to becoming a top contender in the Triple Crown races. The partnership between Barclay Tagg and Funny Cide seemed straight out of a storybook, defying expectations and making history by winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

Another shining star under Tagg’s guidance is Tiz the Law, showcasing his skill on the racetrack. With an exceptional talent for spotting potential in horses and understanding their capabilities, Tagg guided Tiz from a promising prospect to victory at the Belmont Stakes. Spectators were dazzled by this colt’s speed and grace under Tagg’s careful tutelage – proving that both horse and trainer are formidable competitors in American Classics races.

While Big Truck may not have reached heights as high as some of Tagg’s other stars, his presence among Barclay’s roster further solidifies his reputation for shaping top-tier racehorses. Each horse receives personalized attention and expert training tailored to their unique strengths – leading to consistent success on tracks throughout America.

Showing Up added another impressive chapter to Barclay’s legacy through victories like those at Monmouth Park Racetrack – demonstrating once again how this skilled trainer can transform raw potential into polished performers ready for any grand stage or classic competition!

Recognition and Awards

Barclay Tagg earned prestigious inductions into multiple Hall of Fames for his exceptional contributions to Thoroughbred horse racing. His remarkable skills as a trainer have reshaped the sport’s landscape, leading him to be honored in the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame.

Tagg has made a lasting impact on major American Classics races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Widely renowned for developing champion racehorses, he is considered legendary within the racing community. By taking a hands-on approach that caters to each horse’s unique needs and potential, he consistently brings out their best abilities.

His enduring legacy goes beyond victories; it is rooted in his profound understanding and respect for these majestic animals. Viewing them not just as competitors but as partners in achieving greatness sets him apart as both a trainer and an exemplary horseman who prioritizes their well-being above all else.

Tagg’s training methodology resembles crafting a masterpiece – meticulously planning and executing every detail with precision. Like an artist working on a canvas, he carefully hones each horse’s talents through decades of industry experience combined with patience, dedication, and intuition. It is this artistic touch that distinguishes him from other trainers; making him truly exceptional.

From modest beginnings to etching his name among racing legends’ ranks in history books signifies Barclay Tagg’s journey embodies perseverance fueled by passion paired with unmatched talent – qualities that have rightfully earned acclaim from fans across generations along with fellow professionals alike.

Legendary Tales About Derby Champion’s Trainer

  1. Barclay Tagg: The Trainer Behind the Kentucky Derby Champion
  2. From Rags to Riches: Barclay Tagg kicked off his horse racing career as a stable hand and gradually worked his way up to becoming a top-notch trainer. His journey in the industry showcases his unwavering dedication and love for the sport, earning him a well-deserved reputation along the way.
  3. The Power of Friendship: Partnering with Sackatoga Stable, a close-knit group of high school buddies who pooled their resources to buy racehorses, proved fruitful for Tagg. Together, they acquired Funny Cide, an exceptional gelding that would later clinch victory at the 2003 Kentucky Derby under Tagg’s expert guidance.
  4. Thinking Outside the Box: Renowned for his innovative training techniques, Tagg prefers getting hands-on with his horses. Whether it’s riding them during workouts or closely monitoring their progress, he believes in personalized care that yields remarkable results on the racetrack.
  5. Chase for Greatness: After Funny Cide triumphed at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby, Tagg and Sackatoga Stable set their sights on capturing the prestigious Triple Crown title. Although falling short in both Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with third-place finishes, Tagg’s strategic planning and skilled training played key roles in navigating Funny Cide through these challenging races.
  6. A Lasting Impact: While boasting just one Kentucky Derby win under his belt, Barclay Tag has left an indelible mark on horse racing beyond mere victories. His relentless work ethic combined with cutting-edge training methods have cemented him as a legendary figure within horse racing circles – showcasing what true dedication can achieve in this exhilarating sport!

Training Philosophy and Legacy

Barclay Tagg approaches horse training like a skilled artist crafting a masterpiece. He is known for his hands-on style and meticulous attention to detail, which have not only led to the success of champions but have also inspired deep respect for the sport among those who work with him. With more than 50 years of experience, Tagg has established himself as a leader in Thoroughbred horse training.

What sets Tagg apart is his ability to form strong connections with each horse he works with, distinguishing him in an industry focused on speed and results. His methodical approach prioritizes patience, empathy, and building trust—a winning formula that has helped numerous horses surpass their potential on some of racing’s biggest stages. This personalized care creates an environment where equine athletes can thrive mentally and physically, showcasing their true abilities when it counts most.

Tagg’s influence extends beyond victories on the racetrack; it shapes both equine and human characters within the racing community. From nurturing talent from humble beginnings to achieving prestigious wins like Funny Cide’s victory at the Kentucky Derby in 2003, he consistently demonstrates that success goes beyond just crossing finish lines first—it involves creating enduring legacies grounded in integrity, perseverance, and unwavering dedication.

While trainers come and go in the ever-changing world of Thoroughbred racing, Barclay Tagg remains a steadfast figure whose impact resonates across generations past, present, and future. Fans hold him in high regard for his commitment to excellence while upholding values without compromise—an unforgettable presence shining brightly through races such as American Classics like the Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes Belmont Stakes forever etched into history as one of its brightest stars.

Training Facilities and Operations

Barclay Tagg runs top-notch training facilities designed specifically for elite racehorses he coaches. He pays close attention to every detail to ensure the horses perform their best in important races throughout the Thoroughbred racing season. The barns are kept spotless, creating a calm and focused atmosphere for the horses. With large turnout areas, cutting-edge equine therapy tools, and skilled staff managing daily activities, Tagg’s facilities excel in caring for horses.

Tagg is hands-on with each horse, customizing workouts and routines based on their strengths and weaknesses. He inspects every part of a horse during grooming sessions to check for signs of health or stress. Tagg even supervises morning gallops around the track himself; his commitment shows in every interaction with these amazing animals.

Aside from physical conditioning, Tagg also stresses mental readiness. He knows that confidence greatly impacts a racehorse’s performance so he builds strong connections between himself, his team, and the horses. This personal touch nurtures trust between trainer and horse – an essential element during intense moments at racetracks like Churchill Downs or Belmont Park.

Tagg instills values such as perseverance and resilience into his horses beyond just preparing them physically for competition – crucial qualities during high-stakes races like the Triple Crown events. His ability to develop raw talent into champions transcends mere skill; it’s an art form refined over years in this challenging sport where success often hinges on quick decisions made by both handlers and equine athletes alike.

Adapting to Evolving Racing Trends

With decades of experience in the horse training industry, Barclay Tagg has shown his ability to adapt by mixing modern training methods with traditional horsemanship values that have been key to his success over the years.

Tagg’s talent for blending old-school techniques with new approaches is evident in how he gets his horses ready for big races like the Triple Crown. From carefully planning workout routines to using high-tech tools such as heart rate monitors and GPS trackers, Tagg ensures each horse performs at its best on race day.

One unique aspect of Tagg’s training style is his hands-on approach. He spends countless hours at the barn overseeing every aspect of a horse’s care and training routine himself. This level of commitment not only builds trust between him and his equine partners but also lets him customize strategies based on each horse’s specific needs.

When it comes to adapting to changing trends in racing, Tagg stays ahead by constantly learning from both successes and setbacks. Whether adjusting diets or tweaking exercise plans, he always looks for ways to improve performance while prioritizing the well-being of his horses above all else.

Barclay Tagg’s lasting impact on prestigious American races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes speaks volumes about his skill as a trainer who embraces change without forgetting tradition. His remarkable ability to navigate through shifts in Thoroughbred racing sets him apart as a master whose dedication knows no bounds.

Future Prospects and Continued Success

Barclay Tagg is focused on developing up-and-coming horse talent and aiming for more wins in major horse races. With a strong history of success and a clear dedication to achieving greatness in the sport, Tagg’s journey as a top Thoroughbred trainer keeps fans around the world hooked. Looking ahead, he continues to teach young horses his systematic approach so they can become champions prepared for big races like the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Throughout his career, Barclay Tagg has consistently shown that he knows how to bring out the best in each horse he trains. His hands-on style and sharp attention to detail have been crucial in shaping horses into top contenders who can compete at high levels. Understanding horse behavior and biology well, Tagg creates personalized training plans that suit each horse’s unique strengths and traits, setting them up for success when it counts most.

In the competitive world of Thoroughbred racing, Barclay Tagg stands out not only for his excellent horsemanship but also for his genuine love and respect for these amazing animals. Building strong connections with the horses under his care sets him apart as a true master in American Classic races due to this rare mix of skillful training methods combined with heartfelt bonds formed with these creatures.


1. How has Barclay Tagg’s training style contributed to his success in the American Classics races?

Barclay Tagg’s precise and careful way of training, along with his thorough knowledge of what each horse requires, has played a key role in producing top racehorses that shine in major American Classics races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

2. What sets Barclay Tagg apart from other Thoroughbred trainers in the industry?

Barclay Tagg stands out as an exceptional Thoroughbred trainer in the industry because he personally works with each horse, understands their individual needs, and has a talent for turning them into champions for prestigious American Classics races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

3. Can you elaborate on some of Barclay Tagg’s most memorable victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes?

Barclay Tagg made a name for himself with his unforgettable wins in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. One of his standout moments was in 2003 when he led Funny Cide to victory at both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Funny Cide, a New York-bred gelding, became an instant favorite among racing fans due to his inspiring underdog journey. Another highlight came in 2008 when Tagg guided Big Brown to a thrilling win at the Belmont Stakes. This showcased Tagg’s exceptional training abilities and knack for developing top-tier racehorses for prestigious competitions in the sport.

4. How does Barclay Tagg’s hands-on approach to training benefit his horses’ performance on the track?

Barclay Tagg trains his horses with a hands-on approach that helps improve their performance on the track. By building strong connections with each horse and customizing training methods to fit their unique needs and abilities, he has been able to develop champion racehorses.

5. What impact has Barclay Tagg had on the racing community through his remarkable achievements as a trainer?

Barclay Tagg has made a lasting impact on the horse racing world with his incredible training abilities. He has skillfully led horses to win top American Classics races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. This has cemented his reputation as a skilled horse trainer and highly respected figure in the sport.

6. How does Barclay Tagg’s legacy continue to influence aspiring trainers and horse racing enthusiasts today?

Barclay Tagg still motivates young trainers and fans of horse racing today with his outstanding skills in handling horses, commitment to his work, and the lasting influence of his champion racehorses in major American races.