Much ado about an admittedly fine horse—and its group of tenders and owners—whose story should have been just plain good fun.
Not that Funny Cide's 2003 bid for the Triple Crown was anything short of exciting, but Jenkins, who cowrote Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike (2000) and is clearly in the author’s seat here, tries to beat the event into a froth only to have it collapse around her feet. Beginning with the questionable subtitle (making it sound as if they were battling the Taliban), Jenkins has a weakness for exaggerated and even silly statements. “In the year 2000,” she intones, “there would be just 33,689 live thoroughbred foals born in North America.” (Just?) She refers to the men who pooled their cash to get into thoroughbred horseracing as “working-class,” though the group included an optometrist, a construction company owner, a teacher, and a health-care consultant. Nor was Funny Cide's jockey a “busted-up has-been,” but a talented rider who had seen personal and professional ups and downs, not unlike many a jockey or other human being, and who, as Jenkins admits, “won the Travers and the Belmont on Lemon Drop Kid in 1999.” (A lot fewer than 33,689 have done that.) Referring to trainer Tagg Barclay as a “journeyman” in one breath, then six pages later calling him “a horseman of deep knowledge and uncompromising methods who over the years had done more, with less, than just about anybody” begs for clarification. And claiming that the Kentucky Derby, not the most demanding of horse races, is “the horse equivalent of asking a college kid to play in the Super Bowl” is pointless; since all the horses in the Derby are three-year-olds, that kid would simply be playing against other college students.
A quite unsuccessful attempt to out-Seabiscuit Seabiscuit.