05/09/2006 11:00PM

Bold Ruler coming up short of entrants

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Bill Denver / EquiPhotos
Fountain of Youth star Corinthian is recovering from a leg injury.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainers have been slow to commit their horses to Saturday's $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park, to the point where the Grade 3 race is in jeopardy of being canceled, according to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes.

As of Wednesday, Byrnes counted only three horses as definite: Bishop Court Hill, Pisgah, and Tiger. Byrnes lists Big Apple Daddy and The Deputy Is Home as possibles, though Bruce Levine, trainer of Big Apple Daddy, said he is pointing his horse to the $100,000 Don Levine at Philadelphia Park on May 27.

"It may not go," Byrnes said. "I'll take five if I can get it."

Three trainers each nominated three horses to the Bold Ruler: Todd Pletcher, trainer of Bishop Court Hill; Scott Lake, trainer of Pisgah; and Richard Dutrow Jr. Dutrow is not starting any of his three, saying Call the Lord is not right, Dark Cheetah is aiming for the Jaipur on turf on May 28, and Kazoo is being pointed to the $200,000 Maryland Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap at Pimlico on May 20.

The three horses considered definite for the Bold Ruler are all coming off terrific performances. Bishop Court Hill won the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct. Pisgah won an optional claiming race at Delaware Park on April 26, setting a track record of 1:07.92 for six furlongs, and Tiger is coming off an allowance win at Aqueduct in 1:08.40 for six furlongs.

Jimmy Jerkens, who trains Tiger, said the horse has been plagued by tendon problems throughout his career, but has been sound for months. Jerkens also believes Tiger benefited from hard, fast tracks in his two allowance wins this year.

"He moves way up on a track that's super fast," Jerkens said.

Bishop Court Hill would be the starting highweight at 119 pounds. Pisgah is assigned 114, Tiger 113.

Corinthian back in training

Corinthian, who was taken off the Triple Crown trail because of a minor fracture of a hind ankle, has resumed training, Jerkens said.

Corinthian, who was disqualified from first and placed third in the Fountain of Youth, has been jogging for about 10 days at Belmont. Jerkens said the horse could return to the races by the end of the Belmont meet or early in Saratoga.

"They thought it needed some stimulation to help it heal, that's why he's jogging," Jerkens said.

Corinthian was being pointed to the Wood Memorial when he suffered a hairline crack on the top and front of his long pastern bone in his left hind ankle, according to Dr. Stephen Carr, the racing manager for Corinthian's owners, Centennial Farms.

Funny Cide works toward Schaefer

Funny Cide, the 2003 Derby and Preakness winner who returned to the winner's circle in last month's Kings Point Handicap, worked four furlongs in 47.07 seconds Wednesday morning at Belmont. He is being pointed to the William Donald Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day.

"He did his usual good work," trainer Barclay Tagg said. "He looked great. There aren't too many races around for him. I'd keep him here and run him in some New York-bred races, if they had any."

The next New York-bred race for which Funny Cide is eligible is the $100,000 Evan Shipman at 1 1/16-miles here on July 22, closing day of the meet.

Fabulous Strike wins Romano Gucci

Fabulous Strike remained perfect since switching to trainer Todd Beattie's barn with a front-running 1 3/4-length victory in the $65,150 Roman Gucci Stakes Wednesday.

Under Harry Vega, Fabulous Strike dueled outside of favored Laptop Computer through fractions of 22.19 seconds and 44.63 for the opening half-mile. He put that rival away turning for home and was never seriously challenged as Dontfearthereaper rallied for second. It was another length back to Saint Daimon in third.

Fabulous Strike, a 3-year-old gelded son of Smart Strike, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.95 and returned $8.60. Fabulous Strike is 3 for 3 since being moved to Beattie's barn at the beginning of the year.

Fabulous Strike could return in the Grade 3, $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup Handicap here on June 10.

Serpe recalls La Ville Rouge

When Phil Serpe watched Barbaro get antsy in the paddock prior to the Kentucky Derby, he knew exactly where that trait came from.

"That came right from his mother," said Serpe, who was the first of three trainers of La Ville Rouge, the dam of Barbaro.

Serpe trained La Ville Rouge for her entire 2-year-old season, winning 1 of 5 starts with the filly. Serpe's owners, Randy Marks and Charles Balbach, sold La Ville Rouge to Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stables following her second-place finish in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes Serpe ran her one time for Lael, a sixth-place finish in the Demoiselle.

The Jacksons moved La Ville Rouge to trainer Graham Motion and then to P. G. Johnson before retiring her after her 4-year-old season.

Serpe said that when the filly was moved to Motion, he advised him to do a lot of paddock schooling.

"She used to rear up in the paddock," Serpe said. "I used to bring her to the paddock with a saddle on and we would switch off the saddle and put the jockey's saddle on. She was big on the schooling list every day."

* Silver Train, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, worked five furlongs in 59.41 seconds on Wednesday at Aqueduct. Silver Train is pointing to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 29.