06/06/2011 3:42PM

Belmont Park: Friend Or Foe impresses in comeback

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Friend Or Foe, with Alex Solis up, outfinishes Rail Trip, to win Sunday’s Easy Goer. Friend Or Foe is pointing to the Suburban Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – John Kimmel came to work Monday morning and found a pleasant note from his night watchman as it pertained to the trainer’s 4-year-old colt Friend Or Foe.

“The chart from the night watchman said ‘He ate everything,’ ” Kimmel said Monday morning. “I don’t know if I believe him, but that’s what it said.”

Kimmel wouldn’t have been surprised if Friend Or Foe had left some feed Sunday night. Earlier that day, Friend Or Foe had run a hard and fast 1 1/16 miles to run down the Grade 1 winner Rail Trip and take the $60,000 Easy Goer Stakes by a neck. His final time of 1:40.13 was only .75 of a second off the track record of 1:39.38 set by Birdrun in October 2009. Friend Or Foe earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the performance.

“It was more than I really wanted to get from the race, but hopefully he’ll move forward,” Kimmel said.

If he does move forward, Friend Or Foe will be a tough customer in the Grade 2, $300,000 Suburban Handicap here July 2, which is where Kimmel hopes to run the New York-bred next. Friend Or Foe is now 4 for 4 over Belmont’s main track, winning at distances from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

In the Easy Goer, Friend Or Foe was making his first start since finishing fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 27. Kimmel thought he had Friend Or Foe ready to run in the early part of the spring, but a lethargic work at Payson Park, a training center in Florida, prior to shipping north prompted Kimmel to stop on the colt.

When Kimmel did get Friend Or Foe ready, he couldn’t get the races he wanted to fill, so he went into this overnight stakes, which drew a talented field including Rail Trip, Convocation, and Tahitian Warrior. Mission Impazible, a Grade 2 winner, scratched, presumably to run in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 18 at Churchill.

In a handicap division that lacks a definitive leader, Kimmel is hopeful Friend Or Foe, a 4-year-old New York-bred son of Friends Lake, can be a significant player.

“He’s a super cool horse, I love the horse,” said Kimmel, who trains Friend Or Foe for Chester and Mary Broman. “If he stays healthy – he’s a fresh horse – he could have a really good campaign.”

Richard Dutrow Jr., trainer of Rail Trip, said he was very pleased with how his horse ran Sunday, considering Dutrow went into the race thinking the horse wasn’t fond of Belmont Park. Dutrow said Rail Trip would likely point to the Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 6.