Friend Or Foe Targeting Jim Dandy
Friend or Foe targeting Jim Dandy
The $100,000 bonus that goes to the owner of the horse who can sweep the Big Apple Triple series for New York-breds will likely go unpaid this year. The connections of Friend or Foe, winner of the Triple's first leg, Sunday's Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park, have their sights set higher than that.
Provided all goes well between now and the end of July, Friend or Foe will most likely make his next start in the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, trainer John Kimmel said Monday. Friend or Foe won the Mike Lee by 2 1/2 lengths on Sunday, putting him in position to sweep the Big Apple Triple if he also could win the New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 17 and the Albany at Saratoga on Aug. 25. Kimmel, who trains Friend or Foe for owners/breeders Chester and Mary Broman, says thanks, but no thanks.
"The New York Derby doesn't really get us anywhere that's going to be a major hurdle for him," Kimmel said. "If it was a $250,000 bonus, you might consider it. That does not apply here.
"We'll really have to give a lot of consideration to running in the Jim Dandy," Kimmel added. "It gives us a nice five-week break. I'm really looking forward to running him around two turns to see if we see the same kind of effort."
Friend or Foe, a son of 2004 Florida Derby winner Friends Lake, made it 3 for 3 with his victory in the Mike Lee. After stalking the pacesetter, General Maximus, through a half-mile in 45.17 seconds, Friend or Foe made the lead at the eighth pole and drew clear while only getting one left-handed smack from Rajiv Maragh's whip. Friend or Foe ran seven furlongs in 1:21.68 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.
"If you watch the race, he looks like he's there so comfortably," Kimmel said. "He's such an easy moving horse, he's deceivingly quick for a 17-hand [tall] horse. The other thing that's kind of nice about him as we start to assess where we go next is this horse is also very rateable. Rajiv said he could have taken him further back off that horse, which is nice as we start to contemplate going further. You don't want them rank and unsettled on the front end. I really don't think that's going to be an issue for him."
Maragh told Kimmel he couldn't get Friend or Foe pulled up until the seven-eighths pole, which "gives me a lot of optimism that he's gong to carry his speed and go a little further," Kimmel said. "How much further? He'll just have to show us."
Maragh, who has ridden Friend or Foe in all three of his victories and has worked the colt between starts, marvels about how much the horse continues to improve.
"It's crazy to think how much better he's getting every time," Maragh said Monday morning. "You could see him improve before your eyes."
'Connie' breezes for Mother Goose
Maragh was at Belmont on Monday morning to work Connie and Michael for Saturday's Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes. He had to use his whip more on her than he did Friend or Foe.
While Connie and Michael worked a fast five furlongs in 1:00.03 over the main track, Maragh had to hit the filly right-handed a couple of times at the sixteenth pole as she attempted to drift out. But Connie and Michael quickly straightened out and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.66, seven-eighths in 1:26.81, and pulled up a mile in 1:42.22.
"It seems like she got a lot out of the work, it should definitely move her forward," Maragh said.
Connie and Michael, trained by Ken McPeek, is coming off a 5 1/4-length first-level allowance win over Churchill's main track on May 20. She is one of five 3-year-old fillies expected for the Mother Goose, run this year at 1 1/16 miles.
Others likely to run are a trio of Todd Pletcher-trained fillies -- Devil May Care, Ailalea, and Katy Now. Biofuel, a troubled fourth in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, also is expected to run.
Lady Shakespeare eyes Beverly D.
Lady Shakespeare's victory in Saturday's New York Stakes was a good first step toward trainer Roger Attfield's ultimate objective for the 4-year-old filly -- the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 21.
After running Lady Shakespeare in two consecutive 1 1/2-mile races, Attfield wanted to begin the process of gradually cutting her back in distance. The Beverly D. is run at 1 3/16 miles. The New York was run at 1 1/4 miles.
Lady Shakespeare won the New York after racing in last position early in what became a four-horse field after scratches and the stumble out of the gate of Gozzip Girl, who unseated jockey Ramon Dominguez. Attfield, who watched the race from Canada, said, "I didn't think the race was setting up that well for her."
But when John Velazquez got her in the clear, Lady Shakespeare finished strong. She covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.34 and earned a 96 Beyer.
Attfield said he would look to run Lady Shakespeare once more before the Beverly D. in either the $300,000 Dance Smartly at Woodbine on July 18 or the $500,000 Diana at Saratoga on July 31. Both races are at 1 1/8 miles.
Trainer Tom Albertrani said Gozzip Girl was not hurt stumbling out of the gate but did have two marks up high on the pastern of her left foreleg.
"She tripped herself," Albertrani said.
Albertani said he would like to get a race into Gozzip Girl before the Diana. His stakes options include the $100,000 Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 4 or the $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial at Philadelphia Park on July 5.
* Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver worked four furlongs in 50.66 seconds Sunday morning at Belmont in preparation for his next start, the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 1. It was his second breeze since he finished eighth in the Preakness.
Super Saver's stablemate Quality Road worked the same distance in 50.29 on Sunday. It was his first breeze since winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 31, his third win in as many starts this year. Quality Road is being pointed to the $750,000 Whitney Handicap on Aug. 7 at Saratoga.
by David Grening
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