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Funny Cide faces small field in Belmont Stakes.

Byline: Dan Farley

FUNNY CIDE will face no more than eight rivals when he attempts to land the US Triple Crown on Saturday

after trainer Ken McPeek reported that Wild And Wicked, impressive winner of his two starts to date, will miss the Belmont Stakes, writes Dan Farley.

Wild And Wicked is more likely to be pointed to the Ohio Derby at Thistledown, a decision that leaves the Belmont with seven intended starters and two possibles.

"We just decided to be more conservative, take a

little more time and not throw him to the wolves," said McPeek of the decision not to run Wild and Wicked.

"He's a special horse and you're going to hear more about him, but the Ohio

Derby is better timing and gives us time to get ready."

Empire Maker and Dynever, considered the two biggest threats to Funny Cide's run at a Triple Crown sweep, put in their respective final serious exercises at Belmont on Saturday.

With Aaron Gryder in the saddle, Empire Maker went six furlongs in 1min 13.60sec and galloped out seven furlongs in 1min 27sec.

"This was exactly what I wanted," said trainer Bobby Frankel, who believes he has the best three-year-old in the US.

"If the other horse beats us, he beats us, but this horse is coming to the race perfectly. He needed this work really badly and got just what he needed. He was really striding out and galloped out strongly. There was a little bit of moisture in the track but I'm sure it will be faster later."

Dynever worked half a mile in 48.40sec, galloped out five furlongs in 1min 4sec, and pulled up six furlongs in 1min 14.40sec.

Trainer Chris Clment said the work was "exactly what we were looking for".

"I always work my horses a half-mile and have them gallop out strong for five or six furlongs."

The other Belmont runners include Best Minister, Scrimshaw, Survivor and Ten Most Wanted, while possible starters are Midway Road and Outta Here.


Coral: 5-4 Funny Cide, 7-4 Empire Maker, 5 Dynever, 9 Ten Most Wanted, 16 Scrimshaw, 20 Best Minster, 33 Midway Road, 40 Outta Here, Supervisor.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 2, 2003
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