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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 Wonby Sally Jenkins
Synopses & Reviews
They had no business being there. They were up against million-dollar horses owned by patricians, oilmen, Arab sheiks, and Hollywood producers. They were ten regular guys, and all they wanted was to win a race. Instead, they won the hearts of America.
In 2003, a three-year-old with 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 millionaire owners and sweeping to the brink of the Triple Crown.
Trained by a journeyman who'd spent over 30 years looking for "the one," ridden by a jockey fighting to come back after years of injuries and hard knocks, and owned by a band of high school buddies from Sackets Harbor, N.Y., Funny Cide became a hero and media sensation.
Now, Sally Jenkins, award-winning co-author of Lance Armstrong's #1 bestseller It's Not About the Bike, tells the inside story of the Funny Cide team's ups and downs against overwhelming odds, illness, and even scandal, to capture the imagination of millions. It's a new American classic for the underdog in all of us.
"In May 2003, a relatively unknown racehorse named Funny Cide won the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later won the Preakness, the first two events in horse racing's legendary Triple Crown. Jenkins, a skilled sportswriter and author of two books with cyclist Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike; Every Second Counts) delivers a first-rate account of the improbable Funny Cide story, aided by her access to its main players, including the horse's owners, a group of longtime buddies from the small town of Sackets Harbor, N.Y. The book is at its liveliest showing them in action, especially when their unpretentious excitement subverts the wealthy elegance of the Kentucky Derby. But Jenkins does her book a disservice by trying to present the Funny Cide story as metaphoric as that told in Laura Hillenbrand's instant classic, Seabiscuit. Despite Jenkins's best efforts to show otherwise, 2003 is not 1938, the Iraq War isn't the Depression and Funny Cide's breeders, owners and trainers are from 'the vast middle class in horse racing,' making them closer to 'Sheiks and Bluebloods' than to the working class. Still, Jenkins never lets her broad cultural swipes get in the way of delivering a sprightly and entertaining tale of a lovable winner from nowhere. Agent, Esther Newberg. (May) Forecast: With the ongoing popularity of Seabiscuit, in both book and film, and with a 250,000 first printing and publicity tied to this year's Kentucky Derby, Funny Cide is poised to tap into the Seabiscuit readership even if it might not reach Seabiscuit sales." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
He became "the people's horse," the unheralded New York-bred gelding who inspired a nation by knocking off the champions and sweeping to the brink of the Triple Crown. His story is for the underdog in everyone.
In 2003, he 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 knocking around racing for more than thirty years, ridden by a hard-luck jockey, and owned by a tiny stable founded by a band of high school buddies from Sackets Harbor, NY (pop: 1,386), who tossed in a few thousand dollars each and decided to follow their dream, Funny Cide became a blue-collar hero with a bit, his story crammed with colorful characters-only one of which happened to be a horse.
Written with Sally Jenkins, coauthor of Lance Armstrong's number-one bestseller It's Not About the Bike, Funny Cide tells the whole story-the parts we know and the parts we never suspected-as it follows the group's emotional ups and downs against overwhelming odds, illness, and even scandal, to capture the imagination of millions. It is a book for the underdog in all of us- a new American classic.
About the Author
Sackatoga Stable is owned by ten people, led by managing partner Jackson Knowlton, whose jobs range from catering to construction to health care. Unlike with Funny Cide's million-dollar brethren, who make a quick killing and then get retired to stud, they plan to race their horse for all his fans to see as long as he is healthy and happy-conceivably for years to come.
Sally Jenkins is an award-winning journalist for The Washington Post, and is the coauthor of the bestselling It's Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts, written with Lance Armstrong.
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