SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. will honor a quintet of the greatest New York-breds to compete and represent the program at Saratoga Race Course on Saratoga New York Showcase Day Friday, August 26.
Connections from all-time New York greats Fio Rito, Commentator, Fourstardave, Funny Cide, and Tiz the Law will each be honored following Friday’s fifth race at 3:21 p.m. on the day with a certificate of achievement for their racing career representing the New York-bred program.
The quintet was chosen by a distinguished panel of New York turf writers and represent the first class of honorees recognizing their importance in setting forth the New York-bred program.
Fio Rito: Two-time New York-bred Horse of the Year best known for his upset victory in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course in 1982. He won 16 stakes overall, including the Grade 2 Michigan Mile and One-Eighth Handicap at Detroit Race Course. Bred and owned by Ray LeCesse, a bowling alley owner in Rochester, Fio Rito retired with 28 wins in 50 starts and earnings of $584,142 for trainer Michael S. Ferraro.
Commentator: Voted New York-bred Horse of the Year in 2005 and 2008 – the same seasons he won the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. Bred by Michael Martinez and campaigned by Tracy Farmer, who purchased him for $135,000 at the 2002 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, Commentator won 14 of 24 starts with five other placings and $2,049,845 for trainer Nick Zito. In addition to his Whitney victories he won the Grade 2 Richter Scale Sprint Handicap in 2008 at Gulfstream Park.
Fourstardave: Nicknamed the “Sultan of Saratoga” for his penchant for winning at the Spa, Richard Bomze’s homebred Compliance gelding won at least one race in upstate New York annual from 1987 to 1994. The victories included the 1987 Empire Stakes on the dirt as a 2-year-old, three straight editions of the Grade 3 Daryl’s Joy Stakes from 1990 to 1993 and the 1989 and 1991 West Point Handicap. He retired with 21 victories in 100 starts, along with 34 placings, and $1,636,737 in earnings for trainer Leo O’Brien.
Funny Cide: Sackatoga Stable’s Distorted Humor gelding put the New York breeding program in worldwide headlines with his victories in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He was named New York-bred divisional champion three straight years and New York-bred Horse of the Year during his Eclipse Award-winning season in 2003. Foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs and trained by Barclay Tagg, Funny Cide also won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2004 at Belmont Park and Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders’ Cup Handicap in 2004 at Aqueduct. He retired in 2007 with 11 wins in 38 starts – including nine stakes – and earnings of $3,529,412.
Tiz the Law: Named New York-bred Horse of the Year in 2019 and 2020, Tiz the Law racked up victories in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at 2 at Belmont Park and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes at Belmont and Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga at 3. Foaled at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson and purchased for $110,000 by Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, the son of Constitution also won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes – both at Gulfstream – and finished second in the 2020 Kentucky Derby. He retired with six wins in nine starts and $2,735,300 for trainer Barclay Tagg.
Friday’s Saratoga New York Showcase Day, a racing card complete with exclusively New York-bred restricted races, includes six stakes – the $250,000 Albany for 3-year-olds, $200,000 Fleet Indian for 3-year-old fillies, $200,000 Funny Cide presented by Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for 2-year-olds, $200,000 Seeing the Ante for 2-year-old fillies, $200,000 West Point Handicap presented by Trustco Bank for 3-year-olds and up on the turf, and the $200,000 Yaddo Handicap for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up on the turf.
The 2022 season at Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 5. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit NYRA.com.
NYRA Press Release