09/24/2003 12:00AM

Turf option nixed after Funny Cide's workout


ELMONT, N.Y. - It remains uncertain when and where Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide will run next. One thing is for certain: It won't be in a turf race.

Funny Cide on Wednesday worked five furlongs in 1:03.14 over a wet Belmont Park turf course listed as good, and neither jockey Jose Santos nor trainer Barclay Tagg were happy with the move. That eliminates Funny Cide from consideration for next week's Grade 2, $350,000 Kelso Handicap at Belmont.

Though the turf course was labeled good in the morning, the six workers were kicking up plenty of dirt and mud. Also, the dogs - orange cones designed to protect the part of the turf course used for the afternoon's races - were out past the middle of the course. According to the clockers, Funny Cide covered his last three furlongs in 37.60 seconds.

"He looked like he was struggling over it,'' Tagg said. "Jose didn't think he was real confident going around the turns. It didn't impress me. I don't think I'll make that switch just yet.''

Santos, who worked Funny Cide for the first time since before the Louisiana Derby, said in particular he didn't like the way Funny Cide finished the work.

"I don't think he really enjoyed it, he threw his head up real high,'' Santos said. "In my opinion, I don't think he should try the grass now.''

That still leaves Tagg with plenty of dirt options for Funny Cide's next race. He could run in the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 3, the $400,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 4, the $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont on Oct. 18, or the $100,000 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 29.

Tagg's main goal for the fall remains the $350,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 29.

Sulamani, Sabiango prep for Turf Classic

Sulamani and Sabiango worked over the Belmont turf on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday's $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational.

Sulamani, who figures to be a short-priced favorite, worked six furlongs in 1:16.02 under exercise rider Jerry Moylan. The clockers timed Sulamani in 13.40 seconds for the first furlong and 52.40 for a half-mile.

Moylan said the turf was heavy.

Tom Albertrani, Godolphin Stable's New York-based trainer, will saddle Sulamani for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who will not be here on Saturday. Albertrani said he was pleased that Tuesday's heavy rain softened the course for Sulamani's first work over Belmont's turf.

"We wanted to make sure to get the work done [Wednesday]," Albertrani said.

The 1 1/2-mile Turf Classic will be Sulamani's first race since Aug. 16 when he was placed first in the Arlington Million after Storming Home was disqualified for ducking out sharply before the wire. Since the Arlington Million, Sulamani has been under Albertrani's care at Belmont.

"He's been doing extremely well," Albertrani said. "I feel we definitely have the horse to beat."

Jerry Bailey will be aboard Sulamani for the first time in the Grade 1 Turf Classic.

Sabiango, a Group 1 winner in Germany, covered a half-mile in 50.06 under Raoul Dygas, an apprentice jockey from Germany. Sabiango has been in New York since Sept. 17 and his trainer, Andreas Wohler, was anxious to work the 5-year-old over the Belmont turf for the first time.

"He did it fine and I'm happy," Wohler said after the work. "It was just the thing he needed to do. The rain helped us a lot because it wasn't too firm."

David Flores, who was aboard Sulamani in the Arlington Million, will ride Sabiango in the Turf Classic.

Trainer Barclay Tagg said he would probably enter Macaw in the Turf Classic because it's free to enter and then will take a look at the field before making a decision to run or not.

Lunar Sovereign and Slew Valley, the winner and the runner-up in the Man o' War, and Polish Summer and Deeliteful Irving are the other Turf Classic probables. Balto Star is under consideration for both the Turf Classic and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Walzerkoenigin impresses Prado

Edgar Prado took Flower Bowl hopeful Walzerkoenigin out for a test drive over Belmont's turf course Wednesday morning and after said he is looking forward to riding the German-based filly in Saturday's $750,000 race.

Clockers credited Walzerkoenigin for a five-furlong move timed in 1:05.02.

"Super, I liked it,'' Prado said. "She did everything real good. I like what I felt. After that work I feel confident.''

Walzerkoenigin, who has won Group 2 races in Germany and Italy, finished fourth in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 16.

"She didn't have the cleanest of runs in the lane,'' said Paul Harley, racing manager for owner Gestut Schlenderhan. "She didn't have a lot of room in the stretch.''

Harley said that even if Walzerkoenigin were to run well on Saturday, she would not be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. After the Flower Bowl, she will run next in the E.P. Taylor $750,000 at Woodbine on Oct. 19.

Dimitrova, who finished second in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap here, worked three furlongs in 40.02 seconds over Belmont's turf course.

Gygistar, Peeping Tom head Vosburgh

A large field is taking shape for Saturday's $500,000 Vosburgh at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Grade 1 winners Gygistar and Peeping Tom are likely to be joined in the Grade 1 Vosburgh by Ajedrez, Ghostzapper, Highway Prospector, Mike's Classic, My Cousin Matt, Posse, Proud Citizen, and Voodoo. Trainer Mike Hushion said he is giving serious consideration to running Papua, who finished second to one of the leading sprinters in the country, Shake You Down, in a Belmont allowance race on Sept. 11.

Wednesday, Peeping Tom worked in company with stablemate Eleven B from the starting gate over the main track. Peeping Tom, who can be lazy in his works and therefore usually works with another horse, finished in front of Eleven B and covered a half-mile in 48.08 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.

"The splits were very honest and he galloped out well," said Pat Reynolds, Peeping Tom's trainer.

Mike's Classic worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:14.65 on the main track for trainer Allen Jerkens.

Betty's Wish gives connections fitting win

It was only appropriate that trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey John Velazquez teamed up to win Wednesday's $65,800 Starine Stakes with Betty's Wish. After all, it was Velazquez who rode the Frankel-trained and -owned Starine to victory in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Wednesday, the stakes were much lower, but Betty's Wish took over from pace-setting Marc's Rainbow approaching the quarter pole and cruised home an easy 2 1/4-length winner. Where We Left Off, the 2-1 favorite, outfinished Changing World by a neck for second.

Betty's Wish ($7.90), owned by Edmund Gann, covered one mile in 1:35.38 over a turf course that was labeled yielding. Three other turf races were taken off the grass.

Abby Meyocks improving

Abby Meyocks, who suffered a laceration to her liver in a car crash on Monday, showed signs of improvement on Wednesday, her father and fianc? both said.

Abby Meyocks is the 24-year-old daughter of New York Racing Association president Terry Meyocks and also works in NYRA's customer services/licensing department. She is engaged to jockey Javier Castellano, who was uninjured in the two-car accident on Monday.

Terry Meyocks said that his daughter was expected to be moved from intensive care to a regular room Wednesday night and could be released from Winthrop Hospital on Long Island on Friday.

* Jockey Jerry Bailey took off his last two mounts on Wednesday because he was experiencing stiffness in his back, according to Mario Sclafani, the clerk of scales. Earlier on the card, Bailey won the second race aboard Devotion Unbridled.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson