Updated on 09/17/2011 10:33AM

Empire Maker goes it alone

Empire Maker will meet Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in the $1 million Belmont Stakes on June 7th.

ELMONT, N.Y. - In his first serious move since finishing second in the Kentucky Derby May 3, Empire Maker fired a six-furlong bullet workout over Belmont Park's main track Tuesday.

Following the workout, Empire Maker's trainer, Bobby Frankel, said, "Everything is perfect" with his colt, who will meet Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in the $1 million Belmont Stakes June 7.

The score is 1-1 after two meetings. On April 12, Empire Maker won the Wood Memorial by a half-length over Funny Cide, who reversed the decision three weeks later in the Kentucky Derby with a 1 3/4-length victory over Empire Maker.

Empire Maker, the Derby favorite, has since recovered from a foot bruise that he was fighting Derby week.

Tuesday, Belmont clockers timed Empire Maker in 1:12.04, breezing, over a fast track. He covered his first three furlongs in 36 seconds. Empire Maker, who wore blinkers in the workout, shared the bullet with Lilah, an allowance runner who often has bullet works. The second-fastest time for the distance was 1:13.52.

After the second renovation break, Empire Maker, with jockey Aaron Gryder aboard, began his work at the five-eighths pole and finished an eighth of a mile beyond the finish line.

Frankel often works Empire Maker in company, like he did six days before the Kentucky Derby. After watching Empire Maker go solo Tuesday, the trainer was pleased.

"I usually don't work him alone," Frankel said. "He [had] a little problem with messing around. With more confidence in him, he is more business-like. He worked really well."

After conferring with Gryder and getting the thumbs-up that Empire Maker had been focused during the work, Frankel said, "Aaron said he was well within himself. As long as you make him pay attention, he's okay by himself."

Frankel said he would work Empire Maker twice more before the Belmont Stakes, next Monday and again on the Sunday before the race.

"I'm not going to play with him," Frankel said. "I've taken it too easy with him. This race, we have to get much more serious."

Funny Cide takes it easy

All was quiet at Belmont's Barn 6, where Funny Cide is stabled. The Derby and Preakness winner walked the shed row Tuesday. Funny Cide's trainer, Barclay Tagg, said the gelding likely would return to the track Wednesday for the first time since the Preakness for a jog around the main track.

Tagg said Funny Cide's feisty demeanor since his crushing victory at Pimlico in Saturday's Preakness is a positive sign. Tagg said he called his assistant, Robin Smullen, from Maryland on Sunday, inquiring about Funny Cide.

"She told me that she couldn't keep him on the ground," Tagg said.

While Funny Cide's energy level is high, Tagg's and Smullen's stamina is being put to the test. Tuesday, Tagg and Smullen barely had enough time after training hours to drive home for a quick change of clothes for a noon press luncheon at Gallagher's Steakhouse in Manhattan.

Atswhatimtalknbout works easy six furlongs

At Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Atswhat-imtalknbout had his second workout since finishing fourth in the Derby, breezing six furlongs Tuesday in 1:16.20. Raul Vizcarrando was aboard for the workout, which came over a fast track.

Trainer Ron Ellis, in from California to supervise the work, said he generally was pleased with how the colt went. "I'd rather him go too slow than too fast," Ellis said.

Ellis said Atswhatimtalknbout will likely have two more workouts before the Belmont - on May 26 and June 1.

Ellis said Atswhatimtalknbout will be part of what is expected to be a sizable shipment of Churchill horses flown to Belmont several days before the race. In past years, the charter flight has been on the Wednesday morning before the race.

Ellis said Atswhatimtalknbout most likely will be stabled with a trainer who has horses at Belmont, as opposed to in the stakes or receiving barn.

Scrimshaw likely for Lukas

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said at Churchill that Ten Cents a Shine will not run in the Belmont but that Scrimshaw most likely will run. Ten Cents a Shine, ninth in the Preakness, could be gelded within the next few days, Lukas said.

Scrimshaw, third in the Preakness, "came out of the race with more energy than after the Derby," Lukas said. "I think that's telling us he's getting more and more fit."

- additional reporting by Marty McGee