ELMONT, N.Y. -- While two Kentucky Derby rivals remained at Belmont Park, just a few barns apart, post positions were drawn in Baltimore on Wednesday for the 128th Preakness, a Triple Crown race that shapes up as a two-way battle between Funny Cide, upset winner at Churchill Downs, and Peace Rules, the third-place finisher almost two weeks ago.
Funny Cide drew the No. 9 post in a 10-horse field for Saturday and was installed as a slight 7-5 favorite, while Peace Rules, with the No. 7 post, is listed as the 8-5 second choice on Pimlico’s morning line. Bobby Frankel, who trains Peace Rules, said he wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers eventually flip-flop, making his colt the favorite.
“I beat [Funny Cide] once, and he beat me once,” Frankel said Wednesday morning at Belmont Park. “But Funny Cide got a perfect trip the day he beat me, after my horse was locked in a speed duel.”
Frankel ran 2-3 in the Derby with Empire Maker and Peace Rules, who were only a head apart at the wire. Funny Cide, who won by 1 3/4 lengths, ran third, beaten by 3 1/4 lengths, on March 9, when Peace Rules won the Louisiana Derby.
Peace Rules will be vanned the 200 miles from here to Pimlico this morning, after he finishes a gallop at Belmont. Funny Cide won’t arrive at Pimlico until about 10 a.m. on race day. Frankel and Funny Cide’s trainer, Barclay Tagg, are regulars at Belmont.
Technically, there was no draw at all for Funny Cide in the Preakness. He was last in the selection order for post positions and simply was assigned the only spot left.
“Everything has gone right so far,” said Tagg, who, unlike Frankel, attended the draw. “This is a marvelous horse. He lost some weight after the Derby, but he appears to have gained almost all of it back. If the race sets up like it did in the Derby, I’ll be very happy.”
Funny Cide won the Derby from a stalking position. He was third behind the pace that Brancusi and Peace Rules set, moved to the lead at the top of the stretch and then outfinished Empire Maker, who was unable to run him down in the stretch. Empire Maker will skip the Preakness and run on June 7 in the Belmont Stakes, the finale to the Triple Crown.
At Belmont on Wednesday, jockey Jose Santos was a visitor to Funny Cide’s barn as Robin Smullen, Tagg’s assistant trainer and girlfriend, ran the operation. Santos is accepting congratulatory handshakes for two reasons, winning the Derby and being cleared Monday by Churchill Downs stewards of possibly carrying an electrical prod in the race. Santos was forced to defend himself after the Miami Herald, publishing a photograph taken at the finish of the Derby, suggested that the rider might have had something in his right hand besides a whip.
Around the racetrack, illegal chargers are also called “machines” or “batteries.”
“The best machine I’ve ever had in my life was a red machine named Funny Cide,” Santos said. “The whole thing was a pain in the butt. I stayed around Churchill to answer questions after the stewards cleared me, missing a day when the governor [of New York] was honoring us back home. My image is more important than being with the governor.”
After Funny Cide and Peace Rules, the odds jump to 5-1 on Scrimshaw and Senor Swinger, an entry owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis. Next, at 15-1, are Cherokee’s Boy and Ten Cents A Shine, even though Ten Cents A Shine picked up a last-minute rider in Jerry Bailey, who has won the Derby and Preakness twice and also has a Belmont victory. Bailey rode Empire Maker in the Derby.
Ten Cents A Shine, eighth with Calvin Borel riding in the Derby, was supposed to be ridden by Pat Valenzuela, but trainer Wayne Lukas switched when Bailey’s expected mount, Champali, dropped out of the Preakness because of a stomach problem. This has been a trying Triple Crown for the Hollywood Park-based Valenzuela, who won the 1989 Derby and Preakness with Sunday Silence. He has had two mounts drop out because of injury, Kafwain in the Derby and Indian Express in the Preakness, and now circumstances have cost him Ten Cents A Shine.
“This is no reflection on Pat,” said Ken Ramsey, who owns Ten Cents A Shine. “Jerry’s won 25 or 30 stakes for me and [trainer] Bill Mott, and when you have one of the greatest riders available, you try to go with the guy you think will give you the best chance to win.”
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
The 128th running of the Preakness Stakes, to be run Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Post: 3:12 p.m. PDT. TV: Channel 4 (coverage starts at 2 p.m.). Order of horses: By saddlecloth numbers. Post positions (PP): Listed after horse’s name. Weights: 126 pounds. Distance: 1 3/16 miles. Purse: $1 million. First place: $650,000; second place: $200,000; third place: $100,000; fourth place: $50,000.
*--* No Horse (PP) Jockey Trainer Owner Odds 1 SCRIMSHAW (2) Gary Wayne Lukas Bob and Beverly 5-1 Stevens Lewis 1A SENOR SWINGER Pat Day Bob Baffert Bob and Beverly 5-1 (10) Lewis 2 CHEROKEE’S BOY Ryan Gary Capuano ZWP Stables 15-1 (1) Fogelsonge r 3 FOUFA’S WARRIOR Ramon Lawrence Sondra Bonner 20-1 (3) Dominguez Murray 4 KISSIN SAINT (4) Richard Lisa Lewis Rankowitz and 20-1 Migliore Karches 5 TEN CENTS A Jerry Wayne Lukas Ken and Sarah 15-1 SHINE (5) Bailey Ramsey 6 MIDWAY ROAD (6) Robby Neil Howard William S. 20-1 Albarado Farish 7 PEACE RULES (7) Edgar Prado Bobby Edmund Gann 8-5 Frankel 8 NEW YORK HERO Jorge Jennifer Paraneck Stable 20-1 (8) Chavez Pedersen 9 FUNNY CIDE (9) Jose Santos Barclay Tagg Sackatoga 7-5 Stables