Empire Maker Breezes; Funny Cide Walks Wednesday at Belmont

Empire Maker breezed four furlongs in :48 3/5 this morning with jockey Javier Castellano aboard for the work. The Derby runner-up will skip Saturday's Preakness and train up to the $1 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 7.

"I was just looking to keep him the way he is," Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel said of the move. "He'll work every six days leading up to the Belmont. He's a mile-and-a-half horse."

Edited from a NYRA release

Frankel reported that Empire Maker's bruised foot is in "perfect" shape. "I wish the Derby were this Saturday," Frankel said, noting some missed training with Empire Maker leading up to the Derby. Peace Rules, the third-place finisher in the Derby who is headed to Baltimore Thursday for the Preakness, just jogged this morning.

Funny Cide was hand-walked this morning, 24 hours after he breezed four furlongs in :47 1/5. Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, reported the Kentucky Derby winner came out of his work in good shape.

Funny Cide will not ship to Baltimore for the Preakness early. In fact, he is going as late as possible. "He's going to ship there Saturday morning and get in there at 10 o'clock or so," Smullen said. "We decided that we weren't going to school him at Pimlico. He was pretty good the last time we took him to the paddock (last Sunday at Belmont Park). There's going to be plenty of people at Pimlico, but not nearly as many as at Churchill. I don't see him giving us a problem."

Smullen said there is a chance Funny Cide could school in Belmont's paddock Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m. "Since he's a gelding, he could school when fillies or colts are in the paddock," Smullen said. "I want him to get settled back in his stall early so he can eat his dinner."