Empire Maker, left, will use Jersey Derby as Belmont Stakes prep.

Empire Maker, left, will use Jersey Derby as Belmont Stakes prep.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Empire Maker Entered in Monday's Jersey Derby

Trainer Bobby Frankel, fearing he may not get enough training in Empire Maker because of the bad weather in the Northeast, has entered Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker in Monday's Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.

The $100,000, mile and a sixteenth race, originally carded for the turf, has already been switched to the main track.

"As of now, I'm running," Frankel said. "I have until Monday to make up my mind. I have to see if I can get can a work in him on Monday. But as of now, the weather forecast is for rain to continue for the next few days. I spoke to the racing secretary and he said they're trying to get five horses. 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."

A spokesman in the Monmouth racing office said it looks as though a field of six will be entered. "We made the decision to take the race off the grass an hour ago," he said. "We had some of the jockeys and the track superintendent walk the course this morning and they all agreed it was in everyone's best interest to take it off the grass."

With Jerry Bailey on Aldebaran in Monday's Met Mile, Aaron Gryder has been named to ride Empire Maker. Frankel had originally entered Urban King, but scratched when the race came off the turf.

The Jersey Derby used to serve as a prep for the Belmont Stakes when it was run on the dirt at Atlantic City Race Course. Some of those who have used the race as a springboard to a Belmont victory are Creme Fraiche, Pass Catcher, Hail to All, and Jaipur.