LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Funny Cide to Try for Triple Crown
Aired June 6, 2003 - 19:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: Nobody is laughing at Funny Cide right now. The New York-bread gelding is even money to become the first Triple Crown champion in a quarter of a century. And the Belmont Stakes, that's where it's going to be determined tomorrow.
Josie Karp joins us from Belmont Park in Belmont, New York -- Josie.
JOSIE KARP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, for a variety of reasons, this horse Funny Cide really seems to have captured the country's imagination. And a big part of that has to be the connection that people feel with the owners of this horse.
And this is very rare in horse racing. But these owners give off the impression that they could be anyone's neighbor. And in one tiny town, they really are.
KARP (voice-over): There's a place in upstate New York where the boats outnumber the cars. The streets are crowded with flags. And most residents are proud to admit they live in a one-horse town.
MURRAY MAXON, HOTEL OWNER, SACKETS HARBOR, N.Y.: This is huge for us in this little village of 1,400 people. This is probably the biggest thing since the war of 1812. And hopefully nobody's going to get hurt in this one.
KARP: That's because tiny Sackets Harbor is connected to the most famous horse in the country by a half dozen native sons. They're known as the Sacket Six. And the fact that they are part owners of Funny Cide seems as unbelievable to them as it probably does to you.
J.P. CONSTANCE, FUNNY CIDE CO-OWNER: I will always have this memory, always the memory with my family being in the winner's circle in Kentucky. That is just priceless. Absolutely priceless.
MARK PHILLIPS, FUNNY CIDE CO-OWNER: Hopefully we're going to have a trifecta. We're going to pick it. It's a term I learned.
KARP: They're still perfecting the lingo, and they don't look like the typical thoroughbred owners, who are often captains of industry or sons of royalty. In this group, there's a retired utility company man, a teacher, a one-time mayor, a consultant and a pair who work in construction. They're life-long friends who got into horse racing eight years ago after spending a holiday weekend in familiar fashion, on the porch, drink in hand. PHILLIPS: Well, we were at a party, Memorial Day party when the idea came up. We had had several beers. In fact, we'd had more than several beers. So the agreement was, meet here in three days, that would a Saturday, Sunday, Monday right here, don't come if you're not interested. And if you do come, bring your checkbook and we'll make the final deal.
HAROLD CRING, FUNNY CIDE CO-OWNER: I was still waffling when I came up here. And J.P. mentioned that, you know, wouldn't you like your obituary to read that you were a thoroughbred horse racer, amongst all the other things you've done? And I said, you know what? That's the most sensible thing he's said in a couple of days. So I signed right up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Sports Illustrated"...
KARP: Funny Cide displays their loyalty to each other and their home town in every race. The horse has carried the maroon and silver colors of Sackatoga Stable, and Sackets Harbor High School, all the way to the winners circle and the brink of immortality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you cannot think about that, this horse going this far. I think J.P. probably said it best, that you can't dream a dream like that.
KARP: These guys are obviously having a ball. And they are still humble. But their lives have changed rather dramatically. For example, right now, as we speak, they are in New York City at a party hosted by Mayor Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion. And it's a lot way from Sackets Harbor, New York, Anderson.
COOPER: It certainly is. And we'll see what happens tomorrow. It's going to be an exciting day.
Josie Karp, thank you very much.
Of course, not all the wagers on tomorrow's race will be placed at the track, Belmont Park. Wendy Casey is at an off-track betting parlor in New York.
WENDY CASEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. It's the OTB, and it is the place to be.
Take a look inside this joint. It's been bustling down here since we've been down here. The manager told me it's been one of the busiest days. But you know what, the word around here is that, you know, they're not betting on this race. This is the race to watch.
But, you know, I'm just going to tell you right now, all I know about horse racing is, you know, the little guy on the horse, he's a jockey. Just kidding. Any I was like trying to better my odds here. It was my funny side. Ha ha!
Anyway, as let my favorite sportscaster here in New York says, "Let's get right to the videotape."
Full screen graphic right here. We've got the early line on the odds. Right here. Funny Cide, even odds. Empire Maker, 6-5 odds. Dynever, 5-1. Ten Most Wanted, my favorite name, 10-1. Scrimshaw, 20-1. And Supervisor, 50-1.
Back out here live, this is what it looks like down here. The OTB off-track betting right here. You know, we tried to talk to some people out here just a few minutes ago. The guys said to me, they cannot be on camera because they don't want their wives to see. But a fewer hours ago we did get some sound. Let's listen to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to root for Funny Cide to win the Triple Crown, you know. I'm a New York fan. So you know, I'm going for the home team.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm absolutely sure he's going to win. Yes. I'm a New Yorker, and I believe in that horse. He's very good. He's a good breeded horse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a New York-bred gelding. Piece of junk, as far as I'm concerned. I know people don't want to hear that but you know, New York-breds just don't do stuff like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARP: Well, the post time is 6:30, and it's expected to rain; it's 70 percent chance of rain. But as everyone here says, Funny Cide, he's pretty good in the slop -- Anderson.
COOPER: Good in the slop. You're learning the technical terms. Wendy Casey, thanks a lot. Thanks for the report.
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