07/12/2003 11:00PM

Funny Cide tops Haskell invitees

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Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide headlines the list of 26 horses extended invitations to the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3.

Trainer Barclay Tagg has targeted the Haskell as the gelding's first start since running third in the Belmont Stakes.

Monmouth also invited Belmont winner Empire Maker but trainer Bobby Frankel will likely decline the offer. Frankel will probably send Peace Rules, the winner of the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.

"The Haskell has clearly stamped itself as one of the nation's premier events," said Bob Kulina, Monmouth's vice president of Thoroughbred racing. "This year should once again continue that tradition and provide New Jersey race fans with yet another memorable race day in the Garden State."

Other possible Haskell runners on the invitation list include: Strong Hope, winner of the Dwyer, for his fourth straight score; Sky Mesa, third in the Dwyer in his 3-year-old debut; Wild and Wicked, undefeated winner of the Ohio Derby;

Excessivepleasure, winner of the Iowa and WinStar Derbies; and Kool Humor, a Jersey-bred who captured the Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star in his last outing.

Here is the complete list of invitees:

Champali
Go Rockin Robin
Sky Mesa
Christine's Outlaw
Kool Humor
Soto
Best Minister
Max Forever
Strong Hope
Dynever
Midway Road
Supah Blitz
El Ruler
Mobil
Ten Most Wanted
Empire Maker
New York Hero
Trust N Luck
Eye Of The Tiger
Peace Rules
Wando
Excessivepleasure
Rock Again
Wild and Wicked
Funny Cide
Scrimshaw