06/16/2004 12:00AM

Grade 1 talent fills Mass Cap


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - Winners of all three Triple Crown races will be represented in Saturday's $500,000 for only the second time in the race's 64 runnings. Last year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, Funny Cide, will be joined by the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner, Sarava, in the nine-horse field, which was drawn at Suffolk Downs on Wednesday.

The Funny Cide-Sarava meeting will be the first time two classic race winners have met in Boston since 1973, when Riva Ridge beat Bee Bee Bee one year after Riva Ridge won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont and Bee Bee Bee won the Preakness.

The field includes four Grade 1 winners. Funny Cide is the 8-5 morning-line favorite from post 7. The 2002 Mass Cap runner-up, Evening Attire, drew post 8 and is the 2-1 second choice.

Funny Cide is trying to win his second stakes this year, after beating Evening Attire in the Excelsior Handicap at Aqueduct April 3. The Mass Cap will be his first start since finishing fifth in the Met Mile. His trainer, Barclay Tagg, was not happy with all the aspects of the draw.

"I don't really care for post position 7 on a small track like Suffolk, but there's nothing I can do about that," said Tagg.

Three speedsters should set a hot pace in the 1 1/8-mile race, including the stretching-out Gygistar in post 4 and The Lady's Groom in post 2. Rogue Agent drew the outside post after a wire-to-wire victory in a Belmont allowance in his last start.

Sarava was a late entrant by trainer Bob Baffert. As the field took shape earlier this week, there were some indications there could be as few as five or six entrants. Baffert was a bit surprised when he heard he drew post 5 of 9.

"Where'd all the horses come from?" asked Baffert. "You guys do a good job hustling up there."

Baffert said the Mass Cap is a good place for his hard-luck 5-year-old, Sarava, to get back on his game. He said Sarava, who has been plagued by injuries and foot troubles since his Belmont upset, would relish the deep, sandy surface at Suffolk.

Offlee Wild, a starter in last year's Kentucky Derby, drew the rail. Local horses On the Game and Basil's Rhythm round out the field.

* Eight solid sprinters will compete in the $200,000 Moseley Handicap, including last year's 1-2 finishers, Peeping Tom and My Cousin Matt. They are joined Maryland Breeders' Cup winner Gators N Bears and the winner of last year's Grade 1 King's Bishop, Valid Video.