By BRANT JAMES, Associated Pres
Published June 8, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - If Empire Maker vs. Funny Cide is to become a rivalry, so be it, trainer Bobby Frankel said. He is confident his Belmont Stakes winner will dominate it.
"It's good for the game if there's a rivalry," Frankel said. "If we can return and get them in the Travers it will be pretty exciting and good for racing."
Empire Maker's 5-length win over Funny Cide on Saturday gave the son of Unbridled two victories in three meetings. Empire Maker edged Funny Cide by a half length in the April 12 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, also on an off track.
"I think there's going to be a lot of talk between the next race between Empire Maker and Funny Cide," Funny Cide jockey Jose Santos said.
Frankel said he plans to race Empire Maker toward the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes (Aug. 3 at Saratoga) and Grade I Travers Stakes (Aug. 23 at Saratoga). Trainer Barclay Tagg had similar plans for Funny Cide, perhaps setting up a blockbuster scenario for the New York summer racing season.
It is a potential rivalry that could last a while. Empire Maker is owned by Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah's billion-dollar racing operation and as Frankel noted, he "doesn't need the money" from retiring the colt to stud.
Funny Cide will continue to earn money on the race track because he was castrated as a yearling. Frankel thinks he will have to beat Funny Cide once more to cinch the Eclipse Award for horse of the year.
"If we (beat) him again we're three for their one and that's good," Frankel said. "And I think we can win the Breeders' Cup with this horse. He can beat older horses."
NOT ME: Juddmonte Farms president Dr. John Chandler was happy to see Funny Cide fade to third down the stretch and be passed by Ten Most Wanted.
"I was glad Funny Cide wasn't second so they couldn't blame me alone for messing up the Triple Crown," he said.
WAIT UP: Trainer Linda Rice knew her colt, Supervisor, deserved to be a long shot, saying her wildest dreams would be to finish third. Jockey John Velazquez could only save face by passing Scrimshaw at the quarter-mile mark and avoid finishing last in the six-horse field.
"I was so far back, I didn't know where I was," Velazquez said. "He just wasn't moving anywhere. Every step of the way, I was scrubbing and scrubbing on him, and I tapped him on the shoulder. He finally started running at the quarter pole."
Supervisor finished 251/2 back, 41/2 ahead of Scrimshaw. CHUMP CHANGE: A victory would have been worth $5.6-million to Sackatoga Stable because of a $5-million bonus paid by Visa to a Triple Crown winner. Instead, Funny Cide collected $100,000 for finishing third and increased his career earnings to $1,989,385.
FRANKEL WINS AGAIN: Frankel's entries of Denon and Requete finished 1-2 in the Manhattan. The $400,000 race was the richest on the Belmont undercard. Denon earned his fourth Grade I victory, holding off Requete by a half length. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, favorite Denon paid $6.30, $4.20 and $3.10. Requete and Edgar Prado returned $6.40 and $4.90.
"I had to keep nudging him to keep him up in there," Bailey said. "I wasn't sure how much horse I had straightening away. When I asked, he really accelerated."
BITS: A single-day on-track Belmont Stakes day wagering record of $12,973,555 was set.