Frankel: 'All the Issues are Out of the Way'

(from Belmont track notes)
A cheery Bobby Frankel said Friday morning that Empire Maker covered his usual mile and quarter gallop and went to the starting gate for schooling as the son of Unbridled moved one day closer to Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

"He was perfect in the gate," the Hall of Fame trainer said. "That was an issue in Kentucky [during training for the Kentucky Derby]. So now all the issues are out of the way."

Included in those issues was a bruised foot that he said is no longer a factor.

"Now, if I'm a good trainer, and I think I did everything right, then he's supposed to win," Frankel said of the Derby favorite that finished second. "If he loses, maybe I didn't do everything right or maybe he's not as good a horse as the other horses."

At this point, Frankel said, "I'm very satisfied with the way he is."

As for how he hopes the race will shape up, Frankel said, "Hopefully, he's laying right behind the speed horses."

Frankel will have to spread his attention around on Belmont Day, as he saddles five horses on the afternoon. So is it a day like any other race day for Frankel?

"No, it's a big day," the trainer said. "It's a big deal, the Belmont. You've got the crowd out there, and it's a little redemption thing [for the horse and the trainer]. It's kind of a 'My horse is better than your horse' thing. I'd like to pull it off."

As to possibly playing the spoiler to Funny Cide's attempt to win the Visa Triple Crown, Frankel said quietly, "I sort of hate to mess up their party." Then in a chuckle, he added, "But they've had enough, right?"

When queried about whether or not he is concerned about the weather, Frankel quipped, "It's not like they're right all the time (forecasters). They're kind of like trainers."

Frankel said he hasn't heard whether Juddmonte Farms' Prince Khalid Abdullah will be at Belmont for the race, but he'll have some other of his owners rooting for him as the horses roll in the Belmont. In for the day will be Edmund Gann, Tom Tatham and the Niarchos family. All will have horses running.

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