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Funny Cide Upsets Favorite in 129th Kentucky Derby - 2003-05-03


A New York red gelding named Funny Cide has beaten the favorite to win the 129th running of the Kentucky Derby, America's most famous horse race.

The upset took place Saturday as a field of 16 three-year-olds competed for a prize purse of more than $1.1 million.

The last time a gelding won the derby was in 1929.

Today's favorite, Empire Maker, finished second in the two-kilometer race. The colt had been favored to win despite doubts about his physical condition. Media reports from Louisville's Churchill Downs say the horse ran with a bruised right front foot.

Famed trainer Bobby Frankel said the injury was minor and would not hinder Empire Maker's run for the roses before a crowd of 140,000 spectators.

The colt exemplified a new trend in racing. The top prospects raced sparingly before the Kentucky Derby. Empire Maker and his top rival, Ten Most Wanted, had raced only five times in their lives before today.

Empire Maker captured three of his five previous races, including wins at the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial that solidified his favored status.

The colt was considered the best-bred horse in the race. His father is Unbridled, the winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby.