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Funny Cide: How a Horse, a Trainer, a Jockey, and a Bunch of High School Buddies Took on the Sheiks and Blue Bloods ... and Won

By: Sally Jenkins (Contributor), the Funny Cide Team, Funny Cide Team, LLC Funny Cide Ventures


They had no business being there.

They were up against million-dollar horses owned by
patricians and oilmen and Arab sheiks and Hollywood producers.

They were ten working-class men,
and all they wanted was to win a race.

In 2003, a three-year-old with an irrepressible personality and the unlikely name of Funny Cide became “the people’s horse,” the unheralded New York–bred gelding who—in a time of war and economic jitters—inspired a nation by knocking off the champions and their multimillionaire owners and sweeping to the brink of the Triple Crown.

Trained by a journeyman who had been kicking around racing for more than thirty years looking for “the one,” but refusing to compromise his standards; ridden by a tough-luck jockey fighting to regain his position after years of injuries and hard knocks; and owned by a tiny stable founded by a band of high school buddies from Sackets Harbor, N.Y. (pop: 1,386) who tossed in a few thousand dollars each to follow their dream, Funny Cide became a blue-collar hero with a bit, his story crammed with colorful characters—only one of whom happened to be a horse.
Written with Sally Jenkins, co-author of Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike, FUNNY CIDE tells the whole story—the parts we knew and the parts we never suspected; the shocks, twists, and bursts of sheer joy—as it follows the group’s emotional ups and downs against overwhelming odds, illness, even scandal, to capture the imaginations of millions. It is a story of loyalty, hard work, and trust; of friendship and resilience; of men and women staying true to themselves above all. It is a book for the underdog in all of us—a new American classic.

Sackatoga Stable is owned by ten people, led by managing partner Jackson Knowlton, whose jobs range from catering to construction to health care. Unlike Funny Cide’s million-dollar brethren, who make a quick killing and then get retired to stud, their horse will race for all his fans to see as long as he is healthy and happy—conceivably for years to come.

SALLY JENKINS, an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post, is the coauthor of two books with Lance Armstrong, including Every Second Counts, and of bestselling books with Dean Smith, Pat Summitt, and Marla Runyan. She lives in New York City.


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