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Funny Cide Enters Travers; Frankel Adds Peace Rules

August 21, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

The entry of Funny Cide had been somewhat expected, but the complete surprise Wednesday was trainer Bobby Frankel throwing Peace Rules' name into the hopper for Saturday's $1-million Travers at Saratoga.

Barclay Tagg, the dour, close-to-the-vest horseman who trains Funny Cide, had hinted that he would spend the $5,000 entry fee Wednesday, if only to ensure that his Kentucky Derby winner stayed eligible to run Saturday. In his first optimistic statement in weeks, Tagg said that Funny Cide, who has been ailing since his third-place finish in the Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3, has a "75% chance" of running in the Travers.

Frankel made little of the double entry of Peace Rules, who won the Haskell, and Empire Maker, whose win in the Belmont Stakes in June cost Funny Cide a Triple Crown sweep and a $5-million bonus. Empire Maker had been penciled in for the Travers since his second-place finish in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on Aug. 3.

Peace Rules, Frankel said, is his "insurance policy," should Empire Maker not be able to run. Empire Maker was coughing for a day recently at Saratoga, as the intrigue for the 134th Travers spread from Tagg's barn to Frankel's.

Frankel said that both of his horses were not expected to run. "There are always rumors," Frankel said. "Empire Maker missed a day [of going to the track], and that's how things get started."

Funny Cide, recovering from a 102-degree fever that flared the day after the Haskell, has had only one workout since that race, but his half-mile exercise in 47 4/5 seconds on Tuesday encouraged Tagg and the gelding's 10 owners, some of whom live near the track in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Track officials estimate that Funny Cide's appearance in the Travers might add more than 10,000 to the crowd, which was expected to hit the 60,000 mark anyway.

Tagg has until 45 minutes before post time to make up his mind about running.

Frankel's horses, coupled for betting purposes despite different ownership, are listed as the 8-5 favorite on the morning line.

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