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Empire Maker

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By TOM KEYSER | January 4, 2004
Finalists for Eclipse Awards will be announced tomorrow, and racing's most coveted awards will be presented Jan. 26 at a black-tie gala in Hollywood, Fla. The same voters representing the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association will decide the winners, but the procedure has been altered. In the past, voting followed the electoral-college method. Each organization voted as a bloc. This year, each ballot will be tallied individually by the popular-vote method.
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By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | January 27, 2004
Mineshaft and Funny Cide, winners of Maryland's premier races, soared to the summit of their sport last night by capturing Eclipse Awards at the annual black-tie gala honoring horse racing's top achievers. The banquet took place at an oceanside resort in Hollywood, Fla. Mineshaft captured the supreme award: Horse of the Year. His victory in the Pimlico Special was one of four Grade I stakes scores in 2003. Mineshaft also won an Eclipse statuette as outstanding older horse. Funny Cide, whose emphatic 9 3/4 -length victory in the Preakness sent him to the Belmont with a chance to win the Triple Crown, captured the Eclipse as top 3-year-old male.
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SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 1, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - After the connections of Empire Maker chose post 12 yesterday for their colt in the Kentucky Derby, he was tabbed the 6-5 morning-line favorite in spite of his bruised foot. The bruise has become the hot topic at Churchill Downs even as Bobby Frankel, Empire Maker's trainer, tries to play it down. On Tuesday, Frankel summoned his veterinarian and blacksmith to the barn to examine Empire Maker, who exited the morning's jog a little "off." Yesterday, Frankel declared: "The horse is OK. He's probably going to run."
SPORTS
By TOM KEYSER | January 4, 2004
Finalists for Eclipse Awards will be announced tomorrow, and racing's most coveted awards will be presented Jan. 26 at a black-tie gala in Hollywood, Fla. The same voters representing the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association will decide the winners, but the procedure has been altered. In the past, voting followed the electoral-college method. Each organization voted as a bloc. This year, each ballot will be tallied individually by the popular-vote method.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | April 11, 2003
NEW YORK -- With Empire Maker, the heavy favorite in the Wood Memorial Stakes tomorrow at Aqueduct and the leader among Kentucky Derby contenders, it has come down to this: Pick him apart trying to find the flaws. Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey who rides him, said the only unanswered question he has is how Empire Maker will handle the boisterous crowd and festivities at the Kentucky Derby. But really, Bailey said, he's not very worried about that. Bobby Frankel, the Hall of Famer who trains Empire Maker, said that, well, the horse has never trained over a muddy track, so if Aqueduct comes up muddy tomorrow that's a concern.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | March 22, 2003
It took until mid-March, but finally a clear favorite for the Kentucky Derby has emerged. Empire Maker's overpowering victory in the Florida Derby last Saturday was by far the most impressive performance by a 3-year-old this year. With his impeccable breeding and Hall of Fame connections, the colt might not only win the Kentucky Derby, the country's top race, but also capture the Triple Crown, racing's most elusive. Immediately after Empire Maker cruised to a 9 3/4 -length victory in the Florida Derby, setting a record for greatest winning margin, his trainer, Bobby Frankel, said he might not race again until the Kentucky Derby on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | April 30, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Empire Maker, the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, has a slight bruise on his right front foot that his trainer says shouldn't affect his performance in the race. "My vet doesn't think it's a real problem," said trainer Bobby Frankel, referring to veterinarian Ken Reed. "In fact, if this wasn't the Kentucky Derby and all the attention that goes with that, this would never be an issue." Empire Maker and his stablemate, Peace Rules, jogged one mile yesterday around the Churchill Downs oval.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 8, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - The Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide, a popular horse with a common-man appeal, ended yesterday on a rainy, gloomy day at Belmont Park. The horse who had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness faltered in the Belmont, as 16 other Triple Crown hopefuls had done before him. Winning the Triple Crown - sweeping the three spring classics - has become one of sport's most elusive treasures. Only 11 horses have done it. Hopes fell heavy on Funny Cide to be the 12th. A near-record crowd of 101,562 braved the miserable day and squeezed into Belmont Park, most hoping to see history made.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | April 30, 2003
LEXINGTON, Ky. - When Garrett O'Rourke came to this country in 1986 from his native Ireland, he wasn't a basketball fan. But when he saw Michael Jordan play, he knew he was watching the ultimate in greatness, a man doing things perhaps no other had done. Nor was O'Rourke a golf fan. But when he saw Tiger Woods play, he knew he was watching perhaps the greatest golfer in history, a man doing things unique in his sport. O'Rourke, 39, is manager of Judd- monte Farms, the pre-eminent breeder of thoroughbreds in the United States.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 4, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Kentucky Derby proved again yesterday that it can humble royal dreams and turn humble dreams into royalty. The long-shot Funny Cide, a New York-bred trained by a down-to-earth former Marylander, outran the regally bred Empire Maker, owned by a prince, to capture the 129th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. It was a victory for the little guy. Funny Cide is owned by a syndicate started by six high school buddies from upstate New York. They chipped in $5,000 each thinking, "if we can get a nice New York-bred along the way that'd be great," said Jack Knowlton, the managing partner.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 4, 2003
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When they make the movie of Funny Cide and Empire Maker's rematch in the Travers, they can alter realty for drama's sake and film the two horses winning their prep race. Fact is, they both lost. Empire Maker, winner of the Belmont, finished a fast-closing second yesterday in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in upstate New York. A half hour later, Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, finished a lackluster third in the Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | August 3, 2003
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - If this is the summer of Seabiscuit, the movie of heart-stirring drama, then perhaps this is also a racing season during which dramatics build to a heart-stopping climax. If that's the case, then this real-life drama will unfold in two acts. Act One takes place today when Funny Cide and Empire Maker, stars of an earlier production known as the Triple Crown, return for their summer debuts in different states. Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, headlines the $1 million Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
SPORTS
By TOM KEYSER | June 15, 2003
That big inflated balloon known as Funny Cide's Triple Crown bid has begun to deflate, ever so slowly, as spring gives way to summer - and to Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, Monmouth Park and, finally, Saratoga. Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, is headed to the Haskell Invitational Handicap on Aug. 3 at Monmouth. Empire Maker, winner of the Belmont Stakes, is headed to the Jim Dandy Stakes the same day at Saratoga. If all goes well, they'll clash again in the Travers on Aug. 23 at Saratoga in what could be an electrifying rematch.
NEWS
June 14, 2003
PART OF THE emotional outpouring must surely stem from the national need for a pleasant, even heart-warming diversion from the grim news of the day. Possibly the connection with horses was inspired by the popularity of the runaway best-seller Seabiscuit: An American Legend and the forthcoming movie biography of the runty, Depression-era equine idol. Perhaps the upset victory of the similarly unglamorous gelding Funny Cide in this year's Kentucky Derby was the catalyst that combined those two elements and got so many more Americans than usual hooked on this year's Triple Crown drama.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 8, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - The Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide, a popular horse with a common-man appeal, ended yesterday on a rainy, gloomy day at Belmont Park. The horse who had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness faltered in the Belmont, as 16 other Triple Crown hopefuls had done before him. Winning the Triple Crown - sweeping the three spring classics - has become one of sport's most elusive treasures. Only 11 horses have done it. Hopes fell heavy on Funny Cide to be the 12th. A near-record crowd of 101,562 braved the miserable day and squeezed into Belmont Park, most hoping to see history made.
SPORTS
By Steve Davidowitz and Steve Davidowitz,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | June 7, 2003
Before the Kentucky Derby, Empire Maker was widely regarded as the best 3-year-old thoroughbred in America and a potential Triple Crown winner. But, a funny thing happened to Empire Maker in Louisville. First, the New York-bred gelding Funny Cide reversed the result of the Wood Memorial with a gritty, 1 3/4 -length triumph in the Kentucky Derby while repelling Empire Maker's bid through the length of the Churchill Downs stretch. Two weeks later, as Empire Maker was kept out of the Preakness, Funny Cide took another leap forward with a dominating, 9 3/4 -length victory in the Preakness.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 9, 2003
The Preakness Stakes, one of the premier horse races in the country, is in dire need this year of that rarest of commodities: Healthy 3-year-olds willing to challenge a Kentucky Derby winner of whom no one seems particularly afraid. Trainer Bobby Frankel's withdrawal of Empire Maker from Preakness consideration yesterday left the May 17 race at Pimlico with five confirmed starters. Only once since 1950 have as few as five competed in the second leg of the Triple Crown, and that was in 1979 when Spectacular Bid won as the overwhelming favorite.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | May 3, 2003
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Decades of breeding, training and riding - the precise combination of star-studded careers - coalesce at this select moment. Empire Maker is the heavy favorite to win the 129th Kentucky Derby today at Churchill Downs. From even before his unsteady feet touched down in Kentucky on April 27, 2000 - from the planning of his breeding - he was destined to run for the roses. Shortly after he turned 2, the manager of Juddmonte Farms, the nation's preeminent breeding establishment, told trainer Bobby Frankel: "Here's your Derby horse for 2003."
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 6, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - If you thought five weeks ago that a Triple Crown would be on the line tomorrow in the Belmont, then you likely figured the potential history-maker would be Empire Maker. He had everything: the pedigree, the trainer, the jockey, the hype. He also had a bruise. A bruise on his right front foot cost him a couple of days of training leading to the Kentucky Derby. As the favorite, he finished second. A New York-bred gelding named Funny Cide won - and won again in the Preakness.
SPORTS
By Tom Keyser and Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF | June 5, 2003
ELMONT, N.Y. - Funny Cide will break from Post 4 when he attempts Saturday to win the Belmont Stakes and become racing's 12th winner of the Triple Crown. He will also face one fewer horse than had been expected. Best Minister, winner of the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, coughed three times during his morning gallop yesterday and was later found to have a lung infection. The withdrawal of Best Minister left the Belmont field at six, the smallest since 1994, when Tabasco Cat won. Funny Cide was anointed the even-money favorite, followed closely by Empire Maker at 6-5. Empire Maker will break from Post 1 in his first race since finishing second to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby.
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