06/22/2005 11:00PM

Bailey to ride Funny Cide

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Jerry Bailey, the jockey who denied Funny Cide the 2003 Triple Crown when he rode Empire Maker to victory in the Belmont Stakes, will be the new rider of Funny Cide. Bailey will ride Funny Cide in his next start, which is scheduled to be the $500,000 Suburban Handicap here on July 2.

"It's always great to get an opportunity to ride a good horse," Bailey said. "I do know him about as well as you can know a horse without riding him. I know what he likes and what he doesn't like. He's certainly very consistent - he's a tough horse, you can never count him out."

Bailey replaces Jose Santos, who rode Funny Cide to victory in the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness and who has ridden Funny Cide in 21 of his 23 career starts. Julie Krone rode Funny Cide in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Classic when Santos rode defending Classic winner Volponi. Edgar Prado subbed for an injured Santos in last year's Saratoga Breeders' Cup.

Santos was aboard Funny Cide in the June 11 Brooklyn Handicap when he had to take up sharply entering the far turn as Cuba, under Norberto Arroyo Jr., came over on him. After the race, Santos told trainer Barclay Tagg he felt the horse was weak behind, but, according to Tagg, did not tell him about the incident entering the far turn. Funny Cide finished fifth, but was placed fourth when Cuba was disqualified from third.

Tagg would not say whether the jockey change was a result of that incident.

"I just think now and then a change of hands is good on a horse," Tagg said. "I love Jose, I just thought he needed a change of hands."

Said Santos: "He's blaming me the way he ran last time. There's nothing I can do about it; he trains the horse. He's with the horse 24/7. I get on him for a minute and 48 seconds and I get blamed. I just wish him luck."

Tagg was hoping Bailey could have worked Funny Cide on Thursday morning, but Bailey did not arrive in New York from Florida in time. Instead, Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr., the agent for jockey John Velazquez, worked Funny Cide, who went five furlongs in a rapid 58.45 seconds over Belmont Park's main track. It was the fastest of 13 works at the distance.

"I thought he worked super," Tagg said. "A little too fast the first part, but he's a good horse, they go fast."

In the Brooklyn, Funny Cide suffered superficial cuts on his right front ankle after his left shoe came dislodged during the race. Afterward, Tagg said he was going to give Funny Cide more time and point for a race during the Saratoga meet. But Tagg said the Suburban would be Funny Cide's next start - with the usual caveats.

"I'm pointing to the Suburban; if it doesn't come up too tough, if it's not pouring rain and scalding hot, I'll probably run him," Tagg said.

Those considered definite for the Suburban are Eddington, Pollard's Vision, and Sir Shackleton. Others under consideration include Evening Attire, Limehouse, and Runaway Russy.

Round Pond points to Delaware Oaks

Round Pond, the convincing winner of the Grade 1 Acorn here on June 11, was held out of Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes and instead will point to the $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 16, trainer John Servis said.

Servis did not want to run Round Pond back with just three weeks' rest and believes the timing of the Delaware Oaks is perfect for his filly. She'll have six weeks from the Acorn and five weeks to the Alabama at Saratoga.

After losing her debut at Oaklawn on Feb. 13, Round Pond has reeled off four consecutive victories including the Honeybee, Grade 2 Fantasy, and Acorn.

"I hate to keep harping on the fact she's a late May foal, but she's a late May foal and she's a filly that hadn't run till this year," Servis said. "I'm trying to come up with the best way to get her to the Alabama and to the Breeders' Cup."

Servis said that his top 3-year-old, Rockport Harbor, is galloping daily at Philadelphia Park and could have a breeze in the next three to four weeks. Servis said Rockport Harbor would not be ready in time for the Haskell but could possibly make the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 27. Rockport Harbor, 4 for 4 as a 2-year-old, is winless in two starts this year.

Servis said he would have eight horses stabled at Saratoga this summer. Servis said Round Pond would definitely be at Saratoga, while Rockport Harbor was probable.

Dreadnaught heads Awad field

Dreadnaught, who ended his 4-year-old campaign with two graded stakes victories, is scheduled to make his 5-year-old debut in Saturday's $50,000 Awad, an overnight handicap scheduled for 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course.

Dreadnaught, a gelded son of Lac Ouimet, won three of his final four starts last fall including the Red Smith and William L. McKnight Handicaps, both Grade 2 events. At 1 3/8 miles, Dreadnaught is 2 for 3 with a neck loss.

Dreadnaught must overcome the outside post in the 10-horse field, but will move in a spot because trainer Bobby Frankel will run either Exterior or Epicentre, not both.

Exterior finished second in the San Juan Capistrano at 1 3/4 miles in April and third in the Jim Murray at 1 1/2 miles in May.

* Stellar Jayne, a finalist for the 3-year-old filly championship last year, moved closer to her 4-year-old debut on Friday by working five furlongs in 59.64. Stellar Jayne, now owned by Godolphin, has not run since finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.