04/18/2006 11:00PM

Heartbreak defeats for Jerkens

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Funny Cide (above) could return in the Alysheba at Churchill Downs on May 5. Watchmon is likely to run in Saturday's Fort Marcy 'Cap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though Jimmy Jerkens has won with 9 of the last 24 horses he has saddled, the recent victories that got away have kept him up at night.

In the last six weeks, Jerkens has endured the frustration of having Corinthian disqualified from first place in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth - and subsequently injured and off the Triple Crown trail - Sir Greeley getting beaten a neck in the Grade 1 Carter, and Artie Schiller losting by a nose in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks," Jerkens said.

Jerkens basically accepted Corinthian's disqualification, considering Corinthian veered in sharply in the stretch and then carried horses out later in the stretch. The losses by Sir Greeley and Artie Schiller have been harder to swallow.

Artie Schiller, last year's Breeders' Cup Mile winner, looked like a winner in the stretch of last Friday's Maker's Mark at Keeneland, but was outfinished by Miesque's Approval. Though he came out of the race with burned heels, Artie Schiller is likely to make his next start, as scheduled, in the Grade 2, $250,000 Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on May 20. Artie Schiller lost last year's Dixie by a nose.

"It'll probably be another few days before he gallops," said Jerkens. "He's been jogging. They're healing up fast, so it shouldn't be any problem."

Sir Greeley came out of his Carter loss to Bishop Court Hill on April 8 in good order and will be pointed to the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap at Belmont on May 3.

Meanwhile, Jerkens may have another budding stakes horse in the barn in Tiger, a 5-year-old who won a second-level allowance race by 7 1/4 lengths here April 13. Tiger ran six furlongs in 1:08.40 - the fastest six furlongs of the year in New York - and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 111.

Tiger has run only seven times, but he has won two of his last three starts since returning to Jerkens's care. Jerkens had Tiger for his first two races in 2004 before he was turned over to Michael Dickinson in 2005. Tiger will likely make his stakes debut in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont on May 13.

"He's just gotten big and strong, that's all," Jerkens said. "He always had talent, but he had tendon trouble early in his career. Knock on wood, he's been very good this time around. He's been able to run without six-month breaks."

Funny Cide may return to Kentucky

Funny Cide may return to the site of his biggest triumph, as he is under consideration to run in the $100,000 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 5, the day before the Kentucky Derby. Of course, Funny Cide won the Derby three years ago.

After running second in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 1, Funny Cide came out of the race with a low white blood cell count. On Monday, Funny Cide worked four furlongs in 47.53 seconds over Belmont's main track. Exercise rider Simon Harris was up for the move.

"He went around there pretty good," said Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg. "He didn't slow down, he never does. Simon said he was moving great. His blood is better, though it's still not perfect."

Smullen said Funny Cide's owners, the Sackatoga Stable, "want to go to the Alysheba. They know he likes Kentucky. We'll see how his blood is."

Funny Cide is also nominated to the $65,000 Kings Point Handicap on April 30. The Kings Point, run at 1 1/8 miles, is restricted to New York-breds.

Reynolds eyes weather for Watchmon

Some day, trainer Pat Reynolds would like to run Watchmon on the turf. He just doesn't want the first time to be in a stakes. However, with the forecast calling for rain Saturday, Reynolds is likely to enter Watchmon in the Grade 3, $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap in hopes the rain washes the race to the dirt.

Last year, Watchmon won the Grade 3 Jamaica Handicap when it was rained off to the dirt.

"We probably don't want to take on this caliber on turf," said Reynolds, who worked Watchmon twice on turf last summer. "But if it comes off, and with the way he worked [Tuesday] and his off-track ability, we'd be leaning toward running."

On Tuesday, Watchmon drilled five furlongs in 59.45 seconds over Belmont's main track, the fastest of 19 works at the distance.

If the Fort Marcy stays on the turf, the likely participants will be

Big Booster, Ecclesiastic, Sabre D'Argent, Saint Stephen, Pa Pa Da, and Foreverness. If on dirt, likely participants include Sabre D'Argent, Bailero, Bahama John, Kennel Up, and Watchmon.

Smuggler highweight in Bed o' Roses

Smuggler, last year's 3-year-old filly champion, will run as the 122-pound highweight in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup. Her challengers will likely include Great Intentions (116), Magnolia Jackson (115), Trickle of Gold (115), Annika Lass (114), and possibly Grecian Lover (114) and Spirited Game (114).

Magnolia Jackson had a three-race winning streak snapped when she was beaten a neck by Smokey Glacken in the Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 25.

Grand Slam wager begins at Belmont

The Grand Slam wager, a variation of the pick four, is scheduled to debut with the opening of Belmont Park's spring-summer meet May 3.

The wager requires bettors to pick a horse or horses to finish in the top three in the first three legs of the wager. In order to win, the bettor must have the winner of the final leg. The wager, which has a $1 minimum, will begin on race 5 during a nine-race card and race 6 on a 10-race card.

Place or show wagering must be available in any of the first three legs for a horse to qualify as a winning selection.