Injury Is Minimized by Frankel

Trainer Bobby Frankel said that he would not use Empire Maker’s bruised foot as an excuse if the Kentucky Derby favorite failed to win Saturday.

“I think when you see him [today], everybody will be happy,” said Frankel, who indicated that Empire Maker would gallop a mile and a half today in his final preparation for the 1 1/4-mile Derby.

Empire Maker suffered the bruise in the Wood Memorial three weeks ago and probably aggravated the injury in a workout here Sunday. Frankel has downplayed the injury, and Thursday, instead of walking his horse around the shedrow for the second consecutive day, he had exercise rider Jose Cuevas jog Empire Maker for a mile.

“He went fine,” Frankel said.



With one Hall of Fame jockey substituting for another, Jerry Bailey rode Final Round to victory Thursday in the $100,000 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs. Trainer Rusty Arnold’s 3-year-old filly paid $4.40 to win after running seven furlongs in 1:22. Pat Day, who has a sore back, said that after another day of therapy he should be able to return to riding today and Saturday, when he has the mount on Ten Most Wanted in the Kentucky Derby.

-- Bill Christine