Updated on 09/17/2011 11:11AM

A richer derby could lure stars

Trainer Bobby Frankel said he would be tempted to run Peace Rules in the Sept. 1 Pennsylvania Derby if the track raises the purse to $750,000.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Officials at Philadelphia Park are considering raising the purse of the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby from $500,000 to $750,000, which has trainer Bobby Frankel considering a change of plans for Haskell winner Peace Rules. The potential purse raise also could give the connections of Funny Cide a back-up plan in case the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner cannot make the Travers on Aug. 23.

"There's lots of discussions behind the scenes and we'll probably make a decision by the end of the week, but I couldn't confirm or deny it,' Hal Handel, the chief executive officer of Philadelphia Park, said Monday when asked about a possible purse increase for the Sept. 1 Pennsylvania Derby.

Handel said that Sal Sinatra, Philadelphia Park's racing secretary, would be visiting Saratoga this week to gauge trainers' interest in the nine-furlong derby.

Frankel said Monday that a purse increase could make him send Peace Rules to the Pennsylvania Derby rather than the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24. Then, Frankel would send Whitney winner Medaglia d'Oro to the Pacific Classic along with Milwaukee Brew. Initially, Frankel was planning to run Medaglia d'Oro in the Grade 1 Woodward at Belmont on Sept. 6.

"It's not for sure - we still got time,' Frankel said regarding Medaglia d'Oro's participation in the Pacific Classic. "Supposedly they don't have too many horses running in that race.'

As of Monday, only Candy Ride, Kudos, and two Frankel horses were being considered for the Pacific Classic.

Meanwhile, the connections of Funny Cide nominated the gelding to the Pennsylvania Derby and said it would be an option if he skips the Travers. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Funny Cide developed a 102-degree fever after running third in the Haskell on Aug. 3.

"If Barclay says he isn't ready for the Travers then we would like to run the horse in a substantial money race for 3-year-olds,' said Jack Knowlton, head of the Sackatoga Stable syndicate which owns Funny Cide.

Added Tagg: "We're worried about getting him to the Travers with all of the issues we've had. That might give us another option.'

Monday, Funny Cide galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Robin Smullen on the half-mile Clare Court track at Saratoga, which was muddy.