04/27/2004 11:00PM

Funny Cide trains for Pimlico Special


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Funny Cide, last year's Kentucky Derby winner, continued his preparations for the Grade 1 Pimlico Special by working five furlongs in 1:00.02 at Belmont Park on Wednesday.

With exercise rider Robin Smullen in the saddle, Funny Cide worked after the harrow break on the main track, which was listed as good. Before the renovation break, the track was sealed because of overnight rain.

Funny Cide's work was the second-fastest of seven at the distance. The bullet (58.12 seconds) went to Saarland, who is being pointed to the $100,000 Westchester at Belmont on May 5.

Funny Cide galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.21. His early fractions were 24.31 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 35.86 for three furlongs.

Smullen said the work would have been faster had the track been quicker.

"The track was very heavy after the break," Smullen said. "Had the track been a really good track and not a heavy track, he would have gone 58 and change and galloped out 11 and change. I was very happy with the work."

Smullen said Funny Cide, who won the Excelsior Breeders' Cup in his last start here April 3, will have two more works before the $500,000 Pimlico Special on May 14.

Smullen, trainer Barclay Tagg's assistant, said she is looking forward to Saturday, the one-year anniversary of Funny Cide's Kentucky Derby victory.

"Believe it or not, I really haven't had a chance to reflect on the win," Smullen said. "I'm going to a friend's house for a [Derby] party and I expect they will show the replay a few times, and that should be kind of neat."

Smullen reported that Bride's Best Boy, who finished 11th in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 17, will cut back in distance for his next start.

"We are going to regroup with him," Smullen said. "Mentally, he's not experienced enough right now to go two turns."

Smullen said Bride's Best Boy would be entered in the $60,000 Kelly Kip, a 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at Belmont on May 14.

NYRA starts carding new distance

Handicappers might have thought they misread the distance of Wednesday's eighth race. For the first time in memory, a 7 1/2-furlong race on the main track was run at Aqueduct. Conservation made history by winning the third-level allowance race and, incidentally, holds the track record for his time of 1:29.56.

Mike Lakow, the New York Racing Association's racing secretary and handicapper, said he wanted to try something new.

"The ability to run seven and a half furlongs was there, but never discussed, so it's nice to add another distance," Lakow said. "For some trainers, the mile is too far and less than a mile is too short."

Lakow said 7 1/2-furlong races also will be added at Belmont. The first condition book for the Belmont meet includes two maiden races at the new distance.

Ihaveadate headed to Bouwerie

Ihaveadate, the 4 3/4-length winner of Sunday's $150,000 Park Avenue, will run next in the $100,000 Bouwerie for New York-breds at Belmont Park on May 16.

Trained by Mike Hernandez, Ihaveadate became a stakes winner in the one-mile Park Avenue, a race restricted to the progeny of New York stallions. Ihaveadate is owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, the owners and breeders of Grade 1 winner Friends Lake, who will run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

Friel's for Real is likely favorite

Friel's for Real, who earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure when she won the Gala Lil Stakes by six lengths at Laurel Park in March, is among five horses in Friday's third race.

None of the runners in the optional claimer, which has a $54,000 purse, was entered for the $75,000 claiming price.

Friel's for Real, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, is the likely favorite.

Friel's for Real will have to run down Our Tune, the lone speed in the 1 1/8-mile race. Our Tune won an overnight stakes here in her last start over next-out winner Board Elligible.

Blinkers are added on Devotion Unbridled, who makes her second start off a layoff.

Artist Johanna and Stake complete the field.

Fragoso hurt, out six weeks

Jockey Pablo Fragoso suffered a broken collarbone on Wednesday after his mount, Lone Tree, made a sudden left turn leaving the starting gate in the second race. Fragoso was hurled over the rail after Lone Tree swerved from post 1.

Fragoso is expected to miss at least six weeks. Currently tied for second place among riders here, he began riding as a journeyman on April 21.

* Admission gates and self-betting machines will open at 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday at Aqueduct to accommodate patrons who want to wager on races from Churchill Downs. First post at Churchill both days is 11 a.m.

* Victor Fernandez, a journeyman rider from Peru, won his first race in this country aboard his first mount, Southeaster, in Wednesday's fifth race.