- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

The Preakness Stakes could gain the top three Kentucky Derby finishers.Trainer Bobby Frankel yesterday said he’ll probably enter both Derby runner-up Empire Maker and third-place finisher Peace Rules against long shot winner Funny Cide in the May 17 classic at Pimlico Race Course.Frankel won’t make a final decision until Sunday, but he has changed his mind about entering races previously. Frankel unexpectedly entered Medaglia d’Oro in the Preakness last year after saying the horse wouldn’t come to Baltimore.Initially, Frankel was reluctant to enter both horses in the Preakness, saying there were too many opportunities nationwide for him to race his 3-year-old colts against each other. Frankel wanted to rest Empire Maker until the Belmont Stakes on June 7 at Belmont Park, where both colts are stabled, and send Peace Rules to the Preakness.However, Empire Maker came out of the Derby well, and jockey Jerry Bailey believed the colt simply didn’t handle the deeper Louisville track. Along with missing one workout and having a second aborted when the colt refused to finish, the Derby favorite’s conditioning seemed short when he was unable to run down Funny Cide in the stretch.The Preakness field is short on Derby runners and may include only eight overall. Eye of the Tiger (fifth), Scrimshaw (11th) and Indian Express (14th) will seek to avenge their Derby losses. Trainer Bob Baffert named jockey Patrick Valenzuela aboard Indian Express after the speedster lost all chance when he broke slowly in the Derby.Baffert also may enter Senor Swinger, winner of the Royal American Turf on May 2 at Churchill Downs. Senor Swinger skipped the Derby but represents Baffert’s bid to capture his second straight Preakness and fourth overall since 1987. However, Baffert has never won a Preakness after losing the Derby.Derby Trial winner Champali also is expected to run.The rest of the Derby field is scattering. Domestic Dispute (10th) may enter Saturday’s Lone Star Derby as a prep for the Belmont, though trainer Christophe Clement said the Preakness is possible. Atswhatimtalknbout (fourth), Outta Here (seventh), Ten Cents a Shine (eighth) and Ten Most Wanted (ninth) are also expected for the Belmont. Ten Most Wanted suffered a back injury leaving the Derby starting gate, according to trainer Wally Dollase. Buddy Gil (sixth) and Brancusi (last) are out indefinitely with ankle chips and a cracked hoof, respectively. Supah Blitz (13th) will be rested one month.Funny Cide may not arrive at Pimlico until two days before the Preakness. Trainer Barclay Tagg will take Funny Cide to the Belmont paddock Saturday between races to get him accustomed to a noisy crowd. Funny Cide was greatly upset by the near 150,000 spectators at Churchill while walking from the barn to the paddock, which Tagg thought nearly cost him the race.More than 100,000 are expected for the Preakness, where entrants are saddled on the turf course between the infield and grandstand crowds.Funny Cide is seeking to become the first gelding to win both the Derby and Preakness. Funny Cide ended a 74-year Derby drought for geldings, but Prairie Bayou was the most recent of six geldings to take the Preakness, in 1993.The Preakness will follow the Derby’s decision to separate the post position draw into two sessions. The order of post selection will be determined five hours before the nationally televised draw at the Inner Harbor on May 14.

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