06/03/2011 2:05PM

Belmont Park: Friend Or Foe returns as part of deep Easy Goer field

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Friend Or Foe will make his first start as a 4-year-old in Sunday's Easy Goer at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Sunday’s $60,000 Easy Goer overnight stakes is so tough that Convocation, coming off a second straight runner-up finish in the Westchester, may be fifth choice in the betting behind Friend Or Foe, Mission Impazible, Rail Trip, and Tahitian Warrior.

“There should be a ‘G2’ next to that 60 thousand,” quipped John Kimmel, who has Friend Or Foe set to launch his 4-year-old season in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Friend Or Foe swept his three starts at Belmont last year against New York-breds, capped by a runaway score in the Empire Classic for which he received a 109 Beyer Speed Figure, equaling Eskendereya’s Wood Memorial as the fastest of the year by a 3-year-old router. Five weeks later, he closed out the season with a wide-trip fifth in the Cigar Mile, earning a 105.

“He had a good freshening over the winter, he’s a big strong colt that has matured well,” said Kimmel, who is pointing the homebred son of Friends Lake to the Grade 2, $300,000 Suburban here July 2. “We’ll have to see if he’s race-rusty or not, but I’ve got him as fit as I can get him, and I’m looking forward to this campaign with him. Hopefully, he’ll be a major horse.”

Rail Trip, a multiple graded stakes winner of more than $1 million on synthetic tracks for Ron Ellis, shipped to New York with a trainer change to embattled Rick Dutrow last fall and faded to fifth after chasing Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup first time on dirt. The gelding makes his first start as a 6-year-old.

Mission Impazible, a Grade 2 winner at Fair Grounds each of the past two years, and Tahitian Warrior, who ran four consecutive triple-digit Beyers last year for Godolphin Stable, complete a salty lineup.

Following the Easy Goer (race 3) are a trio of seven-furlong stakes scheduled for the Widener turf: the $60,000 Xtra Heat for 3-year-old fillies (race 4) and divisions of the $75,000 New York Stallion for 3-year-old males (race 6) and fillies (race 9).

Ruthenia, who won twice at Belmont last fall for Christophe Clement, has posted a pair of bullet works since a disappointing effort in the Appalachian first time back. She may vie for favoritism with Triune, Nina Fever, and Bellamy Star in the Xtra Heat.

Bold Deed, a Barry K. Schwartz homebred switching to turf after setting the pace in the Grade 2 Peter Pan for Mike Hushion, is the 9-5 morning-line choice in the N.Y. Stallion’s Spectacular Bid division.

“We’ve always been thinking about trying him over the turf, and we’re cutting back in distance because we thought he’d be one of the top horses in this spot,” Hushion said.

Darrin’s Dilemma and Freuds Ana Streak, sons of Freud that were first and fourth in a dirt version of the N.Y. Stallion for Rudy Rodriguez last out, also try the grass.

Freud – a full brother to European champion Giant’s Causeway – sired five of the eight fillies in the Cupecoy’s Joy division, including morning-line favorite Hessonite and second choice Letsshootpool.