Funny Cide heads field for Preakness

May 14, 2003 at 6:24 PM
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BALTIMORE, May 14 (UPI) -- Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide was installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite Wednesday and will break from the ninth post when he competes Saturday in the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown.

A draw was held early Wednesday to select the order of post selections for the Preakness and Funny Cide ended up with the 10th and last spot. As a result, trainer Barclay Tagg was left with the ninth post by the time all the spots were chosen.

The tight turns at Pimlico Race Course can sometimes make it difficult to pass in the 1 3/16th-mile race, but with a field of just 10 horses, that danger will be minimized.

A stunning victory by Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby, a subsequent investigation of jockey Jose Santos and two injuries kept the field for the Preakness in a constant state of flux over the past week.

The field was as small as six horses last week, but rose to a dozen by Monday and finally came back down to 10. Peace Rules, Scrimshaw and Ten Cents a Shine will join Funny Cide as the only horses to compete in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Funny Cide became the first gelding to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde van Dusen in 1929, upsetting favorite Empire Maker as a 12-1 choice.

Trainer Bobby Frankel considered putting Empire Maker in the Preakness field on Saturday when it was learned that Santos was being investigated for possibly having an illegal device in his hand during his ride at Churchill Downs.

Santos was exonerated by Kentucky Derby stewards on Monday. By that time, Frankel already had committed Peace Rules as his lone candidate for Saturday's race.

Peace Rules, who was third in the Kentucky Derby after defeating Funny Cide in the Louisiana Derby, will break from the seventh post and is 8-5 second choice with Edgar Prado aboard.

Trainer Bob Baffert scratched Indian Express on Sunday due to a minor foot injury, but he will be represented by Senor Swinger, who was fifth in the Wood Memorial and won the Grade III American Turf at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby.

Pat Day, who rode Ten Most Wanted in the Derby, will be aboard Senor Swinger. The horse will break from the outside far outside post.

"I forgot my binoculars so it's easy to see my horse," Baffert joked. "There is not a bad horse in this race."

Baffert has won the Preakness four times, all in the last six years, including the last two years with Point Given and War Emblem. He also won with Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998).

Senor Swinger will be part of the same betting entry with Scrimshaw, the 11th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Gary Stevens.

Unlike the Kentucky Derby, horses with common ownership are coupled in Maryland wagering. Scrimshaw and Senor Swinger are both owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis.

Scrimshaw will have the second post and joins Senor Swinger as a 5-1 choice.

Lukas also will saddle Ten Cents a Shine, who was eighth in the Kentucky Derby at 37-1, and and will have Jerry Bailey aboard.

Bailey was originally slated to ride Champali, who was taken out of the field Wednesday morning due to a bout with colic. Lukas and owner Ken Ramsey then jumped at the chance to get Bailey.

Ten Cents a Shine has the fifth post and is a 15-1 choice.

The race will include Kissin' Saint (4th post, 20-1), who was third behind Empire Maker and Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial, and New York Hero (8th post, 20-1), who won the Grade II Lane's End but was a disappointing fourth in the Wood.

New York Hero is named after the Manhattan heroes of Sept. 11, and is one of three Maryland-bred horses in the field.

The others are Foufa's Warrior (3rd post, 20-1), who races at nearby Laurel and was a distant third in the Illinois Derby; and Cherokee's Boy (1st post, 15-1), who won the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 19.

A Maryland-bred horse has not won the Preakness since Disputed Testamony in 1983.

Midway Road, who won an allowance race by 11 3/4 lengths at Keeneland on April 24, completes the field as a 20-1 choice from the sixth post.

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