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Empire Maker Might Run in Jersey Derby

May 25, 2003|Bob Mieszerski

There was a surprise name among the eight entries for Monday's $100,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.

Bobby Frankel, who has been unable to train Empire Maker to his satisfaction because of the recent surge of wet weather in New York, said he may run the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite at Monmouth to prepare the colt for the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

"As of now, I'm running," Frankel told the Blood Horse. "I have until Monday to make up my mind. I have to see if I can get a work in him on Monday.

"But, as of now, the weather forecast is for rain to continue the next few days. I can't be jogging this horse every day and then running him in the Belmont. I'll never get him fit enough, so I might as well run him if I have the chance."

If Empire Maker actually runs in the Jersey Derby, a 1 1/16-mile race that was moved from the turf to the dirt, he will be heavily favored. Aaron Gryder will ride because regular jockey Jerry Bailey is committed to Aldebaran, also trained by Frankel, in the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on Monday at Belmont Park.

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