09/23/2004 12:00AM

Funny Cide works, but plans unclear

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Funny Cide clocked in at 1:11.71 in a six-furlong workout over Belmont's main track on Thursday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Funny Cide and Evening Attire signaled their readiness for the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup with sharp workouts Thursday morning at Belmont Park. Now they just need their trainers to be equally prepared to run.

Barclay Tagg, who trains Funny Cide, and Pat Kelly, who trains Evening Attire, both appear to be leaning toward starting their geldings in the Jockey Club Gold Cup here Oct. 2, but they did not commit on Thursday.

Tagg was elated with Funny Cide's six-furlong move in 1:11.71 over Belmont's main track. Funny Cide was timed in splits of 24 seconds and 47.20, and was caught galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25.20. Regular exercise rider Robin Smullen was aboard for the move, the fastest of six at the distance.

"He did it the right way," Smullen said. "He was very relaxed the first part. I was very pleased."

Tagg said he is considering the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 8 for Funny Cide's next start. Tagg said Plan C would be the Hawthorne Gold Cup, a $750,000 race on Oct. 2.

"I'd like to run in the Jockey Club," Tagg said. "I'd also like to be sure I win."

Tagg did confirm that Jose Santos would be back aboard Funny Cide for his next start. Edgar Prado rode Funny Cide to a second-place finish in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup while Santos was nursing a broken arm.

Evening Attire, who beat Funny Cide in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup last month, had a more eventful morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.83 over the training track. Exercise rider Danny Vogt had to steer Evening Attire around a fallen horse in upper stretch.

"At the quarter pole I looked up and saw something down between the three-sixteenth pole and the quarter pole and now he was full of run," Vogt said. "I came outside and stayed out there. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe he would have gone 58 and change."

Evening Attire won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2002, but it is his only win in nine career starts at Belmont. Kelly said he wanted to see the weights for the Hawthorne Gold Cup before committing to a race.

"We'll probably stay here, but nothing's committed at this point," Kelly said.

Peace Rules, who won the Suburban on July 3 in his only prior start at Belmont, worked five furlongs in 58.49 seconds, the fastest of 29 at the distance. Peace Rules is a definite for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Prado will ride, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Others targeting the Jockey Club Gold Cup are Supah Blitz and Domestic Dispute, the one-two finishers from the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap; Seattle Fitz; and The Cliff's Edge. Total Impact, Newfoundland, Sarava, and Love of Money are possible.

Purge targets Cigar Mile

Purge, the Jim Dandy winner who bruised a foot in the Travers, will be pointed to the Grade 1, $350,000 Cigar Mile on Nov. 27, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Purge missed too much time with his foot bruise to make the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

"He runs very well fresh," Pletcher said. "We didn't feel like the Breeders' Cup Classic was the right place this year. He's going to stay in training as a 4-year-old. Cigar Mile is a good fit."

The Cigar Mile is a one-turn race. Purge is 3 for 3 around one turn, including a strong 6 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont in May.

Chapel Royal retired

Chapel Royal, a multiple stakes winner at 2 who couldn't duplicate that success at 3, has been retired to Ashford Stud, Pletcher said.

"It's a minor injury, but one that would not allow him to make any significant races this fall," Pletcher said. "He had a spectacular 2-year-old year; he was second to Birdstone in the Champagne and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was a beautiful horse that had a lot of talent. He's going to make a good stallion."

Chapel Royal, who cost $1.2 million at auction, won three of six starts at age 2, including the Grade 2 Flash and Grade 2 Sanford. He earned $495,571 for owners Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.

Chapel Royal, a son of Montbrook, made only two starts at 3, finishing fourth in the Swale and last of five in the Fly So Free Stakes here Sept. 12.

Lion Tamer to Meadowlands Cup

Lion Tamer, who successfully stretched out around two turns to win the Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth Park, will make his next start in the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 8.

Lion Tamer made his mark as a sprinter, winning graded events such as the Hutcheson, Richter Scale, and Commonwealth Breeders' Cup, all at seven furlongs. But Pletcher always said he was confident Lion Tamer could be successful around two turns.

"The only times we tried him around two turns was at Turfway, where he didn't break well, and at Keeneland in the Blue Grass," Pletcher said. "I didn't think they were two good barometers about how he'd stretch out."

Pletcher is also planning to run Balto Star in the Meadowlands Cup.

Bailey plans to return Oct. 13

Jerry Bailey, who has been injured with a broken wrist since Sept. 1, is targeting Oct. 13 for his return, his agent Ron Anderson said.

Bailey was originally hoping to be back a week earlier than that so he could ride Sightseek in the $750,000 Beldame. Now, trainer Bobby Frankel could be in need of a rider for Sightseek that day. John Velazquez, who rode Sightseek in the Ruffian, may have a conflict between Sightseek and Storm Flag Flying.

Meanwhile, Bailey will be in New York on Tuesday, when he will be honored at the 19th annual Great Sports Legends Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. The dinner pays homage to athletes and individuals who inspire and motivate others.

The dinner, which serves as a fund-raiser for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, will also honor Barry Sanders, Greg Normal, Mia Hamm, Gary Carter, Kristi Yamaguchi, Robert Paris, and Michael Andretti.

Alumni Hall comes down with cough

Trainer Neil Howard scratched Alumni Hall, one of the main contenders in Thursday's eighth race, because the horse was coughing.

"He coughed a little bit and was acting different," said Howard. "I didn't want to take a chance running him."

Howard said he would see how Alumni Hall acts in the next few days before deciding on his next race. Alumni Hall is nominated to the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but it is doubtful he will run.

* Anthony Stabile has taken over as jockey agent for Julio Pezua and five-pound apprentice Eriluis Vaz.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson