With six days to go, the odds of seeing Funny Cide in the Travers (gr. I) Aug. 23 are becoming less and less likely.
Trainer Barclay Tagg said Sunday morning that he will have another blood test drawn on Monday, which would have to return more favorable results than the elevated count found on those done last week.
Off since spiking a fever following the Aug. 3 Haskell, Funny Cide would also need to get a work in before making the Travers a consideration. Entries will be taken and the field drawn on Wednesday.
"I'm going to take another blood on him and see what it looks like. I can't imagine it would be a great turnaround," Tagg said. "I think it's really, really unlikely at this point.
"If the blood's all right and I worked him Tuesday and he came back bouncing and gobbled up his feed, maybe, but I can't imagine he'd run. It's a real outside chance."
Tagg said he has no concrete plan for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, other than getting him back to full health.
"I'm going to let him come around on his own," he said. "I'm not going to pump him full of crap and try to make it come around for him, because when you go back to building him up again in his training, you're doing it on extra help and false stuff.
"I'd rather just get his whole system to come back to itself and I think it probably will pretty fast, but you don't know. I thought it would before now, but it didn't."
The fans hoping to see the Sackatoga Stable gelding wouldn't be
the only ones disappointed by Funny Cide's Travers absence.
"I really had my heart set on the Travers, all year," Tagg said. èEver since I realized I had a nice horse last fall, I thought about the Travers. That's the way it is."
Tagg's Island Fashion 'Doing Good'
Island Fashion bounced back from her upset win in Saturday's Alabama (gr. I) in great shape, Tagg said.
"She looks fine. She came out of it good," he said. "She had a little graze for about 30 minutes this morning. She's doing good."
Tagg received the filly from owner Jerry Nielsen following her victory in the Delaware Oaks (gr. III) July 19, after previous trainer Nick Canani took a private job for Michael Gill, the nation's leading owner.
Tagg said the two victories were similar, both ending with decisive victories. In the Alabama, she beat three Grade I winners, including top choices Spoken Fur and Bird Town.
"She ran pretty much the same way," he said. "She just does her thing. I felt pretty good about her. When I saw the race at Delaware, I thought this filly would love a mile and a quarter the way she did the Delaware race, but you never know until you lead them over there.
"Those other two fillies looked like they flattened out a little bit and made it easier for her. I'm not trying to take anything away from this filly, of course, but it looked like they weren't really on their game. I don't think they'd have beat her, anyway, but they didn't seem on their game."
The trainer said he would let Nielsen decide where Island Fashion would go next. The nine-furlong Gazelle (gr. I) on Sept. 6 at Belmont is a logical spot.
"I think that's what the plan would be," Tagg said. "Just that
and maybe the Breeders' Cup. I don't know. It would be up to him. He called this morning but we didn't really discuss the future."
Bailey Out with Sore Ribs
Jockey Jerry Bailey took off his five mounts Sunday and was expected to miss all five on Monday with sore ribs.
"He bruised a rib earlier this week and he agitated it a few times," said Bailey's agent, Ron Anderson. "We're off today and maybe tomorrow. We'll get back in on Wednesday."
Each of Bailey's first two scheduled mounts Sunday were winners: Read the Footnotes ($4.10) with John Velazquez in the second and Roses in May ($3.70) with Pat Day in the third.
Entering Sunday's card, Bailey ranked second in the jockey standings with 31 wins, 10 behind Velazquez. He had a tough day on Saturday, finishing second with Volponi in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and Spoken Fur in the Alabama, both as a big favorite. He was also second with favored Cozy Maria in the eighth.