Friday Morning Report: Belmont Contenders on the Track Under Cloudless Skies

Friday Morning Report: Belmont Contenders on the Track Under Cloudless Skies
Photo: AP/Ed Betz
Belmont Stakes favorite Funny Cide, right, on the track Friday morning.
It was a picture-perfect morning Friday at Belmont Park, with cloudless skies, warm temperatures, and a slight breeze serving as an ideal backdrop as several of the leading contenders for Saturday's Belmont Stakes were on the track.

Belmont favorite Funny Cide was on the track at about 5:30 a.m., and went to the starting gate following a routine gallop. Although horses are normally schooled in the gate at 7:00, starter Bobby Duncan honored Barclay Tagg's request for the colt to school in the gate at 5:40. Standing in the gate for several minutes, Distorted Humor gelding was on good behavior and did not turn a hair.

Empire Maker, the Kentucky Derby runner-up many believe has the best chance to upset Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid, went to the track at 7:00 and went through a strong 1 3/8-mile gallop. The gallop was not as strong and impressive as Thursday's, but trainer Bobby Frankel did not want the Unbridled colt to do more than he did Friday. Because he was also schooled in the gate, Empire Maker was equipped with blinkers during his gallop.

Illinois Derby winner Ten Most Wanted, who acted up in the starting gate in the Kentucky Derby and sat out the Preakness, passed his gate schooling with flying colors Friday. Taken to the gate after his routine gallop, the Deputy Commander colt was a perfect gentleman as went into the gate and was backed out twice without any problems. "He was cool as a cucumber," starter Duncan told trainer Wally Dollase.

Also on the track early was Lone Star Derby winner Dynever, and the son of Dynaformer trained by Christophe Clement had his strongest gallop of the week.

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