Funny Cide, the very first New York-born steed to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby race, has has taken one final gallop to horse heaven.

"The Gusty Gelding" died on Sunday, July 16th at the age of 23 at the Kentucky Horse Park, where many legendary racehorses enjoy their retirement.

Funny Cide was born and bred in Saratoga Springs, not far from New York's illustrious Saratoga Race Track. Along with his jockey Jose A. Santos, Funny Cide captured both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes titles in 2003.

Jose Santos is congratulated as he heads to the winners' circle
Getty Images






On Sunday, Santos paid tribute to Funny Cide on Twitter:

Funny Cide, you meant so much to not just my family, but the racing community. You will be remembered by most for your grit, determination, will to win and being the champion no one could have expected... I felt so much comfort knowing if I was having a bad day I could get in the car and drive an hour to come see you. Fly high champion. You mean more to me than I can ever put into words.

After his historic wins, Funny Cide rose to heroic status in his home state, and swag with his likeness could be found all over the Saratoga region.

Funny Cide rides back to the stables
Getty Images

Funny Cide retired in 2007, with 11 wins, six second-place finishes, and eight thirds. His career earnings were $3,529,412, a record for New York Thoroughbred Breeders. In 2012 he was immortalized with a statue in Saratoga Springs.

During his 15 years in retirement at the Kentucky Horse Park, he enjoyed visits from admirers all over the globe at the park's Hall of Champions.

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