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Empire Maker Ready to Hoof It

As heaviest favorite since Arazi in 1992, Frankel's sound colt draws No. 12 post in a field of 17.

May 01, 2003|Bill Christine | Times Staff Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Trainer Bobby Frankel said Empire Maker is ready to run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, after which the 3-year-old drew the No. 12 post position and was installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite.

Empire Maker, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, is the shortest morning-line price for the Derby since Arazi was listed at 6-5 in 1992. Arazi, running after knee surgery, went off at 9-10 and finished eighth.

"We got the posts we wanted, now all that's left is the drama over the foot," Frankel said Wednesday as he left the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs, where the draw was conducted. He was being facetious about the drama part. Addressing the bruised hoof that Empire Maker suffered in the Wood Memorial, and which might have been aggravated in a workout here Sunday, Frankel said that the problem is minor.

"The foot is no big deal," he said. "All he did was walk [in the shed row] today, and he'll probably do the same thing Thursday. He's dead fit. It never hurts just to walk a horse a day or two before a race. I did the same thing with him in New York, and, according to the speed figures for the Wood, it was the best race he's ever run."

Frankel's other horse, Peace Rules, who won the Louisiana Derby and the Blue Grass, drew the No. 5 post in a 17-horse field and is the co-third choice at 8-1 with Buddy Gil, the Santa Anita Derby winner. Ten Most Wanted, winner of the Illinois Derby, was made the second choice at 6-1 by Mike Battaglia, the Churchill Downs linemaker.

"That doesn't surprise me," Frankel said. "Ten Most Wanted is the wise-guy horse."

Pat Day, who's scheduled to ride Ten Most Wanted, didn't ride Tuesday or Wednesday at Churchill. While putting some trash in a bin at his Louisville home, he is said to have wrenched his back and is experiencing spasms. Hoping to be ready for the Derby, he is undergoing physical therapy.

Thunderstorms are in the forecast for today and Friday, but Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Kentucky Derby

The field for Saturday's Kentucky Derby in post-position order, with jockeys, trainers, owners, morning-line odds and Times handicapper Bob Mieszerski's comments. RUNNING: 129th. TRACK: Churchill Downs in Louisville. POST: 3 p.m. PDT. TV: Channel 4 (coverage starts at 2 p.m.). WEIGHTS: 126 pounds each. DISTANCE: 1 1/4 miles. PURSE: $1,115,200 if 17 start. First place: $815,200. Second place: $170,000. Third place: $85,000. Fourth place: $45,000.

PP Horse; Jockey; Trainer; Owner; Odds; Mieszerski's Comment.

1. SUPAH BLITZ ; Rosemary Homeister; Emanuel Tortora; Bee Bee Stables and Jacqueline Tortora; 50-1 ; Often knocks, has only entered twice.

2. BRANCUSI ; Tony Farina; Patrick Biancone; Michael Tabor; 30-1; Post selection says he'll be part of pace.

3. SIR CHEROKEE ; Terry Thompson; Michael Tomlinson; Domino Stud of Lexington; 15-1; Right style, but Arkansas Derby was weak.

4. ATSWHATIMTALKNBOUT ; David Flores; Ron Ellis; B. Wayne Hughes and Biscuit Stables; 12-1; Maybe blinkers will be the key..

5. PEACE RULES ; Edgar Prado; Bobby Frankel; Edmond Gann; 8-1; Not a bad second string for Frankel..

6. FUNNY CIDE ; Jose Santos; Barclay Tagg; Sackatoga Stable; 15-1; New York-bred has longshot look.

7. OFFLEE WILD ; Robby Albarado; T.V. Smith; Azalea Stables; 30-1; Holy Bull win looking like a fluke.

8. BUDDY GIL ; Gary Stevens; Jeff Mullins; Desperado Stables, McFadden, Merrill Stables; 8-1; He's not pretty, but he keeps winning.

9. INDIAN EXPRESS ; Tyler Baze; Bob Baffert; Phil Chess; 12-1; Only chance Baffert has left..

10. LONE STAR SKY ; Shane Sellers; Tom Amoss; Walter New; 50-1; 16 scratches would be best chance..

11. DOMESTIC DISPUTE ; Alex Solis; Patrick Gallagher; David Bienstock and Chuck Winner; 30-1; Didn't understand private purchase..

12. EMPIRE MAKER ; Jerry Bailey; Bobby Frankel; Juddmonte Farm; 6-5; Favorites haven't fared well in Derby.

13. EYE OF THE TIGER ; Eibar Coa; Jerry Hollendorfer; John Gunther; 50-1; Only wins have come at Golden Gate.

14. TEN CENTS A SHINE ; Calvin Borel; Wayne Lukas; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey; 50-1; Wouldn't bet a nickel on him.

15. OUTTA HERE ; Kent Desormeaux; William Currin; William Currin and Al Eisman; 50-1; Good luck on Delta Jackpot-Derby double.

16. TEN MOST WANTED ; Pat Day; Wally Dollase; Horizon Stable; 6-1; Bandwagon has grown since Illinois Derby.

17. SCRIMSHAW ; Cornelio Velasquez; Wayne Lukas; Bob and Beverly Lewis; 15-1; Bringing back memories of Charismatic.

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