Updated on 09/17/2011 11:38AM

Dynever works in bar shoes

Dynever, bar shoes on his front feet, works five furlongs at Belmont Saturday, going in 1:00.40 with exercise rider Christophe Lorieul up.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The week of the Kentucky Derby, it was favored Empire Maker who had to battle an ill-timed foot injury. The week of the Belmont Stakes, the protective shoe will be on another horse's foot, that of Dynever.

Both Dynever and Empire Maker had their final workouts for the Belmont Stakes on Saturday morning at Belmont Park.

Dynever, who is the likely third choice behind Funny Cide and Empire Maker in Saturday's 135th Belmont Stakes, is wearing a type of bar shoe commonly known as a "spider" shoe. The shoe's rim loops around the entire outer portion of the horse's foot, and has asymmetrical spokes, resembling a spider web, that cover much of the sole, or frog, of the hoof.

Christophe Clement, the trainer of Dynever, said he put spider shoes on Dynever when he recently detected what he described as a "very small bruise" on the sole of Dynever's left front foot. Even though the right front foot is fine, trainers routinely put special shoes on both hooves in order to keep a horse balanced up front.

"It is more of a precautionary kind of thing," Clement said Saturday morning at Belmont Park, not long after Dynever's workout.

"He was shod 10 or 12 days ago. When we took the shoes off, there was a reddish spot on the toe of his left front. So, we put the spider shoes on. It is safer before you get a problem to anticipate it.

"Because of the wet weather, the sand gets abrasive and can take away some of the frog. In the last few weeks, I've had to stop training four horses because of bruises. It happens a lot when the weather is bad. Why take the risk? These shoes protect his feet as much as possible."

Clement said Dynever would wear the spider shoes until Friday, when he is re-shod with conventional racing shoes for the next day's Belmont.

The spider shoes did not appear to hinder Dynever's performance when he worked on Saturday morning with exercise rider Christophe Lorieul. Dynever came on the track at 9 a.m., shortly after the mid-morning renovation break. He broke off for his work at the half-mile pole, went evenly throughout, traveled strongly to a furlong past the finish line, and then galloped out an additional furlong.

Dynever was credited by Belmont Park's clockers with an official half-mile time of 48.41 seconds. Daily Racing Form had him traveling five furlongs in 1:00.40, and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.22.

"It was a very good work," Clement said. "We planned on having him gallop out very strongly. I wanted as consistent and smooth a work as possible."

Dynever has won his last three starts, including the Lone Star Derby and Aventura Stakes. Edgar Prado, who won last year's Belmont with Sarava, will ride Dynever in the Belmont.

Sharp work for Empire Maker

Empire Maker, who was second as the favorite in the Derby and is the likely second choice to Funny Cide in the Belmont, worked sharply earlier Saturday morning.

Empire Maker came on the track shortly after 6 a.m. - about a half-hour after sunrise - and worked six furlongs in 1:13.05 after breaking off at the five-furlong pole. Aaron Gryder was aboard for the work, but Jerry Bailey will have the mount on Saturday.

After going off slowly for the first three furlongs, Empire Maker finished furiously. Daily Racing Form had his final three furlongs in 35.30 seconds.

"I just let him work the way he wanted," said Bobby Frankel, who trains Empire Maker. "I wanted him to gallop out strong around the turn."

Frankel said Gryder worked Empire Maker, instead of Bailey, because "he knows him better, as far as in the morning."

Both Dynever and Empire Maker were originally scheduled to work on Sunday, but Clement and Frankel decided on Friday to work on Saturday to avoid the predicted heavy showers that were forecast for late Saturday and into Sunday.

Empire Maker had a bruise on his right front foot the week of the Derby, which compromised his training. He was kept in the barn one morning and missed a day of training, and had a truncated training session another morning. He also was forced to wear an abbreviated shoe, known as a three-quarter shoe, to prevent additional concussion to the injured area.

Was Empire Maker at his best for the Derby?

"Soundness-wise, he was," Frankel said. "But fitness-wise, I don't know."

Frankel said Empire Maker is now wearing a conventional shoe on his right front foot.

Funny Cide getting serious

Funny Cide continues to train in an aggressive fashion. He had a powerful gallop on Saturday morning despite purposely being taken the wrong way around the track by exercise rider Robin Smullen.

Funny Cide came on the track at 8:45, right after the renovation break, while accompanied by trainer Barclay Tagg astride a pony. Funny Cide stood calmly at the finish line for 15 minutes, then had a quick, three-mile canter going clockwise, which Smullen does to keep Funny Cide from going even faster. He is scheduled to have his final Belmont workout on Tuesday.

Wild and Wicked will wait

Wild and Wicked, an unbeaten colt whom trainer Ken McPeek had considered running in the Belmont in only his third start, will bypass the race and wait instead for the $300,000 Ohio Derby on June 21 at Thistledown.

McPeek still will be represented by Sir Barton Stakes winner Best Minister, who galloped at a manic pace Saturday morning. He was scheduled to work on Sunday.

- additional reporting by David Grening