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Sep 01, 2006

Woodward Stakes draws field of 11


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - An evenly matched field of 11 older thoroughbreds has been entered for Saturday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The Woodward is being run at Saratoga for the first time after being previously conducted at Belmont Park.

The 1 1/8 mile race has attracted such leading handicap horses as Funny Cide, Flower Alley and Sun King.

People's favorite Funny Cide goes after his second straight win this year and the 11th of his career. The 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will start from post 10 with Richard Migliore in the saddle.

"It's exciting, especially for the local fans," Sackatoga Stable's Jack Knowlton said. "He has only run here once, and that was two years ago. We are really looking forward to Saturday's race."

Funny Cide is coming off a win in the Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine, his second victory of the year. He has earned more than $3.4 million in his career with 10 wins in 31 starts.

"He's doing very well at Saratoga and he's had a good freshening since the Dominion, so it's worth a shot," said trainer Barclay Tagg on Tuesday in a national media teleconference. "We would prefer a 1 3/16 mile or a 1 1/4 mile for him, but if he runs one of his better races, he'll be right there."

The nation's leading trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Flower Alley in the colt's third race of the year. Flower Alley was the defeated favorite in his last start in the Whitney Handicap. He began 2006 with a win in the Salvatore Mile at Monmouth Park.

Owned by Eugene Melnyk, Flower Alley will be ridden by John Velazquez from post 6. The four-year-old has career earnings of better than $2.5 million in 12 starts and five wins. He finished 2005 with a second place effort in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito will start three runners in the Woodward. Whitney runner-up Sun King will start from post 5 with Julien Leparoux set to ride. Leparoux replaces the injured Rafael Bejarano.

Andromeda's Hero, who will start from post 9, will have Belmont Stakes winning jockey Fernando Jara in the saddle. Zito's third entrant is Pimlico Special runner-up Wanderin Boy who has the far outside post with jockey Javier Castellano. Castellano is the regular rider of top three-year-old Bernardini.

Rounding out the field in post position order are Wild Desert, Papi Chullo, Suave, Naughty New Yorker, Second of June and Premium Tap. All horse will carry 126 pounds.

The Woodward Stakes will be broadcast on ESPN Saturday afternoon with a post- time of 5:15 p.m. (et).

The last three winners of the Woodward, Saint Liam, Ghostzapper and Mineshaft, have gone on to earn Horse of the Year honors.

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