Updated on 09/17/2011 10:04AM

Maybe it's Frankel's year

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Horsephotos
Peace Rules (center) turns back previously unbeaten Badge of Silver (left) and Funny Cide in the Louisiana Derby.

NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Bobby Frankel has not had much luck in Triple Crown races, and neither has owner Ed Gann. A little more than a year ago, Gann's wife, Bernice, asked Frankel to widen his scope and buy some horses for them beyond the European-based turf runners in which the Ganns had specialized.

Last year, they came up with Medaglia d'Oro and the filly You. This year, they have Peace Rules, whose Kentucky Derby stock soared with his upset victory in Sunday's $750,000 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

Peace Rules and runner-up Kafwain both came out of the race well, according to their connections, and flew back to California on Monday afternoon. Peace Rules, who trains at Hollywood Park, will be pointed for the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 12, Frankel said. Kafwain, who trains at Santa Anita, will be aimed at the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 5, according to Richard Mulhall, the president of The Thoroughbred Corporation, which owns Kafwain.

Frankel said he chose the Blue Grass for Peace Rules's next start because he wants to keep that colt and his other highly regarded 3-year-old, Empire Maker, in different Derby preps. Empire Maker is scheduled to run in the $1 million Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, then head to the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 12, the same day as the Blue Grass.

"I'm just going to go on with it and see what happens when we get to the end of the rainbow," said Frankel, who is 0 for 7 in Triple Crown races, including four tries in the Derby.

Peace Rules, a chestnut-colored colt by the Forty Niner stallion Jules, was purchased by Frankel on behalf of Gann last September, after he won a maiden race on the turf at Belmont Park for trainer Gary Contessa.

"I liked the way he won on the turf, he was for sale, and we're always interested in buying horses," Frankel said. Frankel would not disclose the purchase price, but hinted it was a relative bargain. "I don't want to embarrass the people I bought him from," he said sheepishly.

The Louisiana Derby marked the first start for Peace Rules since Dec. 28, when he won the Hill Rise Stakes on the Santa Anita turf. He raced three times for Frankel last year, all in stakes, and won twice.

"The good thing is my horses are fresh," Frankel said.

Victor Espinoza, who rode Kafwain, said he did not believe his colt was comfortable racing at Fair Grounds. Espinoza rode Kafwain aggressively beginning three furlongs out, and liberally applied the whip in the stretch.

"I don't think he handled the track very well," Espinoza said. Bob Baffert, who trains Kafwain, told Espinoza that he had wanted Kafwain to be closer to the early pace, and not have so much to do the last half of the race.

Funny Cide, who finished third, was scheduled to return to Florida on Tuesday. He is scheduled to make his next start in the Wood Memorial.

The biggest disappointment in the race was the sixth-place finish by Badge of Silver, who was previously undefeated. Ronny Werner, his trainer, said Badge of Silver acted exhausted after the race, but then quickly recovered at the barn.

"I think he displaced his palate," Werner said Monday morning at his Fair Grounds barn, as Badge of Silver peered out of his stall. "A lot of times when horses displace, they can't get their air, and they act worn out, but as soon as they get their air back, they snap back. Look how good he looks. He's bright-eyed. After his last race, he was at the back of his stall. I'm glad to see he's okay this morning."

Werner also theorized that running Badge of Silver back on three weeks' rest following his powerful victory in the Risen Star Stakes might have been too much for the colt to handle.

Werner said if Badge of Silver continues to train well, he will still make his next start in the $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 5.

"He's still a good colt. We still believe in him," Werner said. "We'll see if this toughens him up."

Werner said Badge of Silver would be fitted in his next race with a figure-eight noseband, a piece of equipment designed to help horses who have experienced breathing problems.

The Louisiana Derby was one of several important Kentucky Derby prep races run last week. Peace Rules got a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 for his win. At Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, Ocean Terrace remained unbeaten and received a Beyer Figure of 94 for his victory in the El Camino Real Derby. The filly Composure, owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, beat arch-rival Elloluv in the Santa Anita Oaks and got a Beyer Figure of 102. And in Dubai, Godolphin Racing's Inamorato won the Al Bastikiya Stakes, a prep for the $2 million United Arab Emirates Derby on March 29.

Ocean Terrace, owned by the Fog City Stable of Bill Bianco and David Shimmon, has won all three of his starts since debuting Dec. 26. He will race next in the Santa Anita Derby, trainer Bob Hess Jr. said Monday from Santa Anita.

"It's ideal from our perspective, because it's four weeks until that race, and then four weeks until the Kentucky Derby," Hess said. "We've asked a lot of him, and he's responded."

Inamorato has emerged as the most likely Derby candidate for Godolphin. Inamorato, highly regarded last year when trained by Eoin Harty, won his lone start at 2 at Hollywood Park but then was struck by a virus that effectively shut down Harty's barn at Del Mar last summer. As is custom with Godolphin's 3-year-olds, Inamorato is now trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

"We are planning to run Inamorato in the UAE Derby and take it from there," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said in an e-mail from Dubai. "He would need to be impressive to take his chance in Kentucky, but he is doing everything right and we have been very pleased with his winter progress."

There are a number of important Kentucky Derby prep races this weekend, including Saturday's Florida Derby and Sunday's $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.

Empire Maker, Formal Dancer, Indy Dancer, Midway Cat, Senor Swinger, Supah Blitz, and Trust N Luck are expected for the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby. Empire Maker worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 on Monday at Hollywood Park, and was scheduled to fly to Florida on Tuesday.

Accompanying Empire Maker will be Midas Eyes, a Frankel trainee who will run in Saturday's $150,000 Swale Stakes going seven furlongs at Gulfstream. Whywhywhy, trained by Patrick Biancone, is the likely favorite in the Swale.

The San Felipe should have an outstanding field, with Atswhatimtalknbout, Domestic Dispute, Man Among Men, Siberland, and Ten Cents a Shine scheduled for the 1 1/16-mile race.

Baffert flew back to California from New Orleans on Sunday night to supervise Domestic Dispute's workout Monday morning at Santa Anita. The colt zipped six furlongs in 1:11.20. Also Monday at Santa Anita, Ten Cents a Shine worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds for his new trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

Atswhatimtalknbout worked six furlongs in 1:13 Sunday at Santa Anita, and Man Among Men worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Saturday at Hollywood Park.

Sunday's $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby is scheduled to include Aristocat, Region of Merit, and Strength Within. Sunday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct is coming up light, with Gimmeawink invading from Maryland to top that field.

- additional reporting by David Grening