07/02/2004 11:00PM

Peace Rules prevails

Peace Rules (second from right), gains a neck victory over Newfoundland (third from right) in the Suburban.

ELMONT, N.Y. - It sounds overly simplistic, but Jerry Bailey may have the best theory as to why Peace Rules was able to win a stirring 118th renewal of the Saturday at Belmont Park.

"He wants it more than anybody else," Bailey said.

It certainly looked that way. After being passed in the stretch by Funny Cide along the rail, and seemingly about to be overtaken by Newfoundland on the outside, Peace Rules battled back to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Suburban by a neck. Newfoundland nosed out Funny Cide for second.

It was three-quarters of a length back to Colonial Colony in fourth. He was followed by Sarava, Dynever, Bowman's Band and Devil Time.

It was the third career Grade 1 victory for Peace Rules and his first ever win at 1 1/4 miles. He has now won 9 of 18 career starts and surpassed the $3 million mark in earnings.

Bailey sent Peace Rules to the front and the duo rattled off fractions of 23.85 seconds, 46.36, and 1:09.33 for six furlongs while staying in the two path down the backstretch. Funny Cide, under Jose Santos, was within a length the entire trip and came up the rail around the far turn. Funny Cide opened up a half-length lead at the eighth pole and Peace Rules appeared to be finished.

At that point, Bailey put his stick away and went to "a hard hand ride." Peace Rules responded, battling back to overtake Funny Cide while holding off Newfoundland. Peace Rules, owned by Edmund Gann and trained by Bobby Frankel, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.52. He returned $8.40 as the second choice.

Bailey and Frankel talked about leaving the rail open because Frankel believes Peace Rules likes to stalk a horse. At the eighth pole, Bailey thought that strategy was going to get him beaten when Funny Cide squeezed through. But in the end, the courage of Peace Rules prevailed.

"He's always been a fighter, he's always been courageous," Bailey said. "This was probably the ultimate case of wanting it more than anybody else."

Said Frankel, "You appreciate a horse like him. He lays his body down."

Funny Cide was a surprise starter in the race, and nearly pulled off the minor upset. Trainer Barclay Tagg said he ran Funny Cide because it was a relatively cool day for July and transportation to California for next weekend's Hollywood Gold Cup was not satisfactory.