Updated on 09/17/2011 10:26AM

Rematch is on at Pimlico

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Jose Santos rises from the saddle as Funny Cide beats Empire Maker (left) and Peace Rules (right).

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Funny Cide, the Kentucky Derby winner, and the two colts who were his closest pursuers on Saturday at Churchill Downs, Empire Maker and Peace Rules, are all set for a rematch in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the May 17 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

Funny Cide, who became the first New York-bred to win the Derby, left Churchill Downs on Sunday morning only 14 hours after his Derby triumph and returned to Belmont Park, where trainer Barclay Tagg is based.

Tagg was thrilled with the way Funny Cide came out of the Derby.

"He's been perfect, just super," Tagg said Monday at Belmont Park. "He just came out of it like he'd done nothing."

Funny Cide got a Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for his Derby victory under jockey Jose Santos. He got a 110 when he finished a half-length behind Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial three weeks earlier.

Funny Cide did not arrive at Churchill Downs until Wednesday. He did his serious training after the Wood Memorial at Belmont Park. Tagg said he would employ a similar schedule leading up to the Preakness. He said Funny Cide would have a workout next Monday or Tuesday, most likely Tuesday, and then would go "as late as possible" to Pimlico.

The only hiccup Funny Cide had on Derby Day was acting up while walking over from the stable area to the paddock. Because of that, Tagg might send Funny Cide to Pimlico on Thursday in order to school Funny Cide for one day. But Tagg said Funny Cide might come as late as the morning of the race. Regardless, he will travel by van from Belmont Park.

The gelding is normally much better mannered than he was on the walk over, and his behavior concerned Jackson Knowlton, the head of the Sackatoga Stable partnership, which owns Funny Cide.

"He's leaving his race out here on the track," Knowlton said Saturday as he walked well behind Funny Cide.

Empire Maker, who was second as the favorite under Jerry Bailey, and Peace Rules, who was third with Edgar Prado, both are headed for the Preakness, trainer Bobby Frankel said on Monday from Hollywood Park, where he returned on Sunday.

"They're both probable," Frankel said. "Same riders for both. They came out of it good. They're just going to walk for a few days. I'll make a final decision after I go back to New York on Saturday night."

Empire Maker and Peace Rules were scheduled to travel to Belmont Park from Kentucky on Tuesday. Frankel said they will be part of a 40-horse contingent he will have in New York this summer.

Frankel said both Empire Maker and Peace Rules would travel to Baltimore on Wednesday of Preakness week.

On Sunday at Churchill Downs, Frankel said he was "leaning toward" running Peace Rules in the Preakness, but not Empire Maker. But he cautioned he would not make a final decision until he saw how both were acting after one week.

Frankel said he was disappointed he lost the Derby, but said he was happy at how well he held up through the demands of having the Derby favorite.

"I'm surprised how well I handled the whole day. I think I did a good job," he said. "It is a letdown, but I came in trying to treat the Derby like just another race, and I'm going out trying to treat it like just another race."

Frankel said he thought the missed training time Empire Maker had at mid-week because of a foot bruise could have contributed to the loss.

"Things with Empire Maker didn't go 100 percent," he said. "But I don't think the foot bothered him during the race. He missed a good gallop when he had to walk. But it might have meant nothing. He got beat by a better horse. Funny Cide had a great trip. Santos rode him well."

Empire Maker ran with a three-quarter shoe on his right front hoof. Frankel said he has run numerous horses in that type of shoe, and that it makes no difference in their performance.

"Put it this way, Aldebaran" - who won Saturday's Churchill Downs Handicap - "wore one on Saturday, and he got a lot of traction."

Frankel called Peace Rules a "courageous little horse."

"Now I know I can take him where I want to run him and not be scared of anybody," Frankel said. "I think he's on a par with Medaglia d'Oro at this stage of his career."

Three other Derby runners - Eye of the Tiger (who was fifth), Scrimshaw (11th), and Indian Express (14th) - are confirmed for the Preakness. Bob Baffert, who trains Indian Express, said Patrick Valenzuela most likely would get the riding assignment in the Preakness, replacing Tyler Baze.

Domestic Dispute (10th in the Derby) is possible, but most likely will skip the Preakness. Dynever, who most recently won the Aventura Stakes, is scheduled to run in Saturday's Lone Star Derby, but trainer Christophe Clement left open the slight possibility Dynever could be moved to the Preakness.

"Of course I'll take a look at the Preakness today and tomorrow," Clement said Monday at Belmont Park. Clement said he preferred the Lone Star Derby, however, because it "gives us an extra week to the Belmont Stakes." The Belmont, the final leg of the Triple Crown, is June 7.

Champali, the runner-up in the Derby Trial, is likely for the Preakness. Senor Swinger most likely will remain on turf after his victory in Friday's Crown Royal American Turf, but is still an outside possibility for the Preakness.

Buddy Gil, who finished sixth in the Derby, has a chip in his left front ankle that will be removed via arthroscopic surgery later this week by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., trainer Jeff Mullins said Monday.

Mullins said he was going to freshen Buddy Gil as well. "We're thinking long-term with him," Mullins said of Buddy Gil, who, like Funny Cide, is a gelding. "We want him around when he's a 5- and a 6-year-old."

The only other Derby casualty was Brancusi, who finished last of 16 after setting the pace. He has a quarter crack in his right front hoof, trainer Patrick Biancone said. "The ground was hard," Biancone said Monday.

Atswhatimtalknbout, who was fourth in the Derby, Ten Cents a Shine (eighth), and Ten Most Wanted (ninth) all will skip the Preakness and await the Belmont, their trainers said. Atswhatimtalknbout and Ten Cents a Shine will train at Churchill Downs. Ten Most Wanted returned Monday to Hollywood Park.

Ten Most Wanted has "a little bit of a back problem," trainer Wally Dollase said.

"He's petered out, just like I am," Dollase said.

Outta Here (seventh) will make his next start in either the Belmont or await the Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park on July 13.

Plans for Offlee Wild (12th) and Lone Star Sky (15th) are uncertain. The trainers of both colts said they would like to shop for spots where the competition is less fierce. Supah Blitz (13th) has returned to Florida and will be freshened for 30 days before resuming training.

- additional reporting by Steve Andersen, Glenye Cain, David Grening, Marty McGee, and Mike Welsch.