Racing fans are getting another Kentucky Derby winner to admire in Central Kentucky: Funny Cide is moving to the Kentucky Horse Park.
The park announced that the 2003 Derby and Preakness winner will join recent addition Alysheba at the Hall of Champions.
Fans are invited to a reception to welcome the 8-year-old gelding at 2 p.m. Dec. 5.
Funny Cide retired off the racetrack in 2007, having won more than $3.5 million. Since then, he has been the stable pony for his trainer, Barclay Tagg.
"The rigors of racing and training for several years have started to cause him mild discomfort recently as he continued working on a regular basis as my stable pony," Tagg said in the press release. "So, now the time has come, as he is turning 9 years old, to really retire."
Bred by WinStar Farm with McMahon Thoroughbreds of Saratoga Springs, Funny Cide is the highest-earning New York-bred in history, winning nine stakes races, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He was Champion Three-Year-Old Colt for 2003.
And he has been a big favorite for fans.
"He was one of those rare horses who captured the public's imagination while he was on the track and continues to have a significant following of loyal fans," said John Nicholson, horse park executive director. "We are honored that Funny Cide's connections recognized the Kentucky Horse Park as a good fit for their horse and his fans."
Funny Cide's owners, Sackatoga Stable, became famous for not being famous, for being a group of "Average Joes" who came to big races together in an old bus.
"The 10 owners of Funny Cide are truly honored that the Kentucky Horse Park has invited him to reside in its Hall of Champions," said Jack Knowlton, Sackatoga managing partner. "We are pleased that his large fan base will have an opportunity to visit him at this wonderful facility not too far from his greatest triumph."
The horse also put his father, Distorted Humor, on the map. "He was the first classic winner for his sire Distorted Humor, who is the foundation stallion at WinStar Farm, and who has proven to be one of the top sires in the world," said Doug Cauthen, WinStar Farm president, who called the Derby win "a game-changing event."
Funny Cide is at WinStar Farm awaiting the move next week.
Besides 1987 Derby winner Alysheba, the Thoroughbreds Cigar, Da Hoss and Kona Gold also live at the Horse Park, along with top retired standardbreds, saddlebreds and other horses.
Cindy Rullman, Horse Park spokeswoman, said Funny Cide likely will be a big draw. She said when his retirement from racing was announced in 2007, "our phones started ringing off the hook," with fans wanting to know if he might come there.