04/16/2003 12:00AM

Derby update



Bobby Frankel. He has the top two choices on the Derby Watch list with Empire Maker and Peace Rules. Empire Maker, 3-1 a week ago, is 8-5 on the Kentucky Derby line set by Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form national handicapper, following his victory in Saturday's Wood Memorial. Blue Grass Stakes winner Peace Rules was lowered to 6-1 from last week's 8-1. Brancusi, the Blue Grass runner-up, and Funny Cide, second in the Wood, are both 20-1 after being more than twice that price a week ago. There are five new horses to the list this week, most notably Sir Cherokee, the Arkansas Derby winner. He is 30-1. Domestic Dispute (40-1), Scrimshaw (60-1), and Trust N Luck (40-1) also have been added, since a strong performance by any of them in Saturday's Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland could earn them a ticket to the Derby. Also new to the list is Lone Star Sky (60-1), though he remains a remote possibility to run.


Eight horses - Aristocat, Badge of Silver, Eugene's Third Son, Great Notion, Indy Dancer, Lion Tamer, Man Among Men, and Region of Merit - were dropped from the list because of injury or poor performance. Since there were more defections than additions, this week's Derby Watch list contains only 22 horses instead of the usual 25.


Perhaps some wild longshot will win the Lexington and earn his way to the Derby, but this race is coming up far stronger than usual. Five horses on the Derby Watch list are scheduled to run.