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It Could Be Wet One for Belmont Stakes

June 02, 2003|Bill Christine

ELMONT, N.Y. — The chance for the first off-track for a Belmont Stakes in 10 years increased Sunday with a long-range forecast that calls for steady rain toward the end of this week.

A muddy track Saturday wouldn't displease Barclay Tagg, who trains Funny Cide, the gelding who's only one win away from sweeping the Triple Crown and earning a $5-million bonus. Funny Cide is an excellent off-track horse. He ran a close second in the mud in the Wood Memorial, and in his last race, the Preakness on May 17, he won by 9 3/4 lengths over what was labeled as an off-surface.

Rain hit Belmont Park hard this past weekend, forcing trainer Ken McPeek to delay a workout for Best Minister, another Belmont probable, until today.

There's a clearing forecast for today, but more rain is expected Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and there's a 50% chance of showers Saturday.

In the last Belmont off-track, in 1993, Derby winner Sea Hero ran seventh and Prairie Bayou, the Preakness winner, broke down and was euthanized. Colonial Affair won the race at 13-1.

Besides Funny Cide and Best Minister, other definites for Saturday are Empire Maker, Dynever, Scrimshaw, Supervisor and Ten Most Wanted. Decisions on Midway Road and Outta Here will be made today. At Hollywood Park on Saturday, Outta Here worked a mile on grass in 1:43 3/5.

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