05/14/2006 11:00PM

Will Funny Cide run in Special or Schaefer?

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Funny Cide (second from right) would face just five rivals if he goes in Friday's Pimlico Special.

When informed by track officials that Friday's $500,000 Pimlico Special was coming up light, trainer Barclay Tagg decided to enter Funny Cide in the Grade 1 race just to take a look.

Now, Tagg's fellow trainers and handicappers alike will be watching to see if Tagg leaves the 2003 dual-classic winner in the Special or sticks with his original plan to run Funny Cide in Saturday's $100,000 William Donald Schaefer Handicap on the Preakness undercard.

Only six horses were entered in the Special, led by Wanderin Boy, winner of the Ben Ali Stakes, and Harlington, winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Also entered in the 1 3/16-mile race were West Virginia, the Excelsior winner; We Can Seek, a recent allowance winner; and Invasor, a champion in Uruguay,

If Funny Cide doesn't run, Wanderin Boy looms as the main speed of the Special. A 5-year-old son of Seeking the Gold, Wanderin Boy is coming off a 5 1/4-length win at Keeneland for trainer Nick Zito and owner Arthur Hancock.

Zito, who will be seeking his third Pimlico Special, doesn't think the presence of Funny Cide in the Special would affect his horse.

"I love Funny Cide, I am a fan of Funny Cide, but he does not have the speed Wanderin Boy does,'' Zito said.

Funny Cide broke a lengthy losing streak when he won the Kings Point Handicap, a race restricted to New York-breds, last month. Tagg said Monday the Schaefer is his preference, but he will discuss things with his owners, the Sackatoga Stable.

"It's what I want to do,'' Tagg said. "He didn't win easy last time.''

On Monday, Funny Cide worked five furlongs in 1:00.10 over a sealed Belmont main track.

At Saratoga on Sunday, Wanderin Boy worked five furlongs in 59.76 seconds over the Oklahoma training track. The Oklahoma is known for being a deep surface, and works like that are atypical. Zito, however, said the track had been packed down hard because of the anticipation of rain.

The Pimlico Special will go as race 12 on a 13-race card, which begins at 12:15 p.m. Eastern. There are four other stakes on the card, including the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies, the $200,000 Allaire duPont Breeders' Cup Distaff, and the $125,000 Miss Preakness Stakes.

She's an Eleven, a California-bred daughter of In Excess who has won her last two starts by a combined 20 1/2 lengths, heads a field of eight entered in the Black-Eyed Susan. Red Cherries Spin, who had the lead at the eighth pole of the Kentucky Oaks before fading to sixth, and Gasia, winner of the Instant Racing Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn on April 15, are other top contenders.

Pool Land, who won the Doubledogdare by 12 lengths at Keeneland on April 19, heads a competitive field of nine entered in the Distaff, run at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Pool Land is 4 for 5 with her lone loss coming after breaking slowly in the Shirley Jones BC at Gulfstream.

Silmaril, who upset the Pletcher-trained champion Ashado in this race a year ago, is back for another try.

Celestial Legend, who has lost her last two starts after winning the first six races of her career, will try to bounce back in the Miss Preakness at six furlongs. The Pletcher-trained G City Cal and the northern California-based Press Camp look like the main threats.

Gilded Gold and Bright Gold, the one-two finishers from the Giant's Causeway at Keeneland, head the 13-horse field entered in the $75,000 The Very One Handicap at five furlongs on turf.