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Racing: Funny Cide closes in on treble.

FUNNY Cide set himself up for an historic shot at the final leg of the American Triple Crown when he romped away with the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby winner was sent off a narrow favourite over Peace Rules but turned the race into a procession to record the second-largest winning margin in the 128-year history of the middle leg of the Triple Crown. The Barclay Tagg-trained gelding bounded clear under Jose Santos in the straight and it was Midway Road who came through on the rail for second, just under 10 lengths back.

Scrimshaw ran third and Peace Rules finished fourth.

``Barclay told me to try to save some ground, then at the five-eighths to give him some loose rein,'' said Santos.

``He just loped along and then I used my whip in case there was a camera or something. I didn't want him to get to looking around or something.''

Co-owner Jack Knowlton said: ``This is just an incredible trip for Sackatoga Stable. We never thought we'd be at the Derby. Then we won the Derby. Then we won the Preakness. We want Belmont to be the best race ever.

``It's just been a tremendous ride. I think Funny Cide today dispelled a lot of questions. Jose Santos rode a first-class race.''

Funny Cide now heads for the Belmont Stakes on June 7, where he will land a 5million bonus from sponsors Visa if he becomes the first horse since the great Affirmed in 1978 to land all three races.

CAPTION(S):

TWO DOWN... Jockey Jose Santos signals two for his second victory aboard Funny Cide as they win the second jewel of the Triple Crown by capturing Saturday's 128th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, Baltimore. PICTURE: AP
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 19, 2003
Words:293
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