05/15/2003 11:00PM

Funny Cide 9-2 in early betting


Funny Cide was the fifth choice in the early betting for Saturday's Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore as of Friday evening, at 9-2. Peace Rules was the early favorite at 5-2.

Early betting is rarely indicative of the final post-time odds, especially more than 24 hours before a race. In the Kentucky Derby, eventual favorite Empire Maker lingered at 8-1 until several hours before the Derby was run.

Pimlico officials said the odds only represent bets made in Maryland. The Pimlico wagering system had not yet linked up with other wagering networks across the country to record the bets made elsewhere in the U.S. as of Friday evening, the officials said.

The second-choice as of Friday evening was the entry of Scrimshaw and Senor Swinger, at 7-2. The co-third choices were Cherokee's Boy, a horse who was bred and is owned and trained by Maryland connections, and Ten Cents A Shine, both at 4-1.

Foufa's Warrior was 19-1, Kissin Saint was 12-1, Midway Road was 25-1, and New York Hero was 18-1.

* Handles on Pimlico's three head-to-head wagers on Friday were moderate.

In the ninth race, the Very One Stakes, which matched favorite Forest Heiress against Maypole Dance, handle was $12,134. The bet had a minus pool of $240, mutuel officials said, and Forest Heiress paid $2.10.

The tenth race head-to-head bet had handle of $8,549, while the eleventh race handle was $12,804. The eighth race head-to-head had to be cancelled after one of the horses, Smok'n Frolic, scratched on Friday morning. The head-to-head bets had a takeout of 11 percent.

Last year at the Breeders' Cup, average handle on the eight head-to-head bets was approximately $110,000.