06/20/2010 12:00AM

Friend or Foe pulls away in Mike Lee


A seemingly deep division of New York-bred 3-year-olds welcomed a new member to the fold Sunday, when Friend or Foe surged past General Maximus at the eighth pole and drew clear to a 2 1/2-length victory in the at Belmont Park.

General Maximus, who set the pace under Javier Castellano, held second by 1 3/4 lengths over even-money favorite Ibboyee, who was compromised by a bad start. Make Note and Raynick's Jet completed the order of finish. Fenway Faithful was scratched.

The victory was the third in as many career starts for Friend or Foe, a son of Friends Lake owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman and trained by John Kimmel.

Under Rajiv Maragh, Friend or Foe stalked General Maximus from second through fractions of 22.80 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.17 for the half-mile. Friend or Foe crept up alongside General Maximus at the five-sixteenths pole, but General Maximus initially repelled the challenge. In the stretch, Friend or Foe made the lead and drew clear. Friend or Foe covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.68 and returned $7.40 as the third choice.

"We didn't want to let [General Maximus] get away too far," Kimmel said. "Rajiv said he was ratable and could have taken him further off if he wanted to, but he didn't want to give [General Maximus] too much of an advantage. He has a lot of tactical speed if you need it, but he's also relaxed enough that you can settle him. Rajiv said it took until the three-quarter pole to pull him up. We'll see how he's doing, but we're thinking bigger and better things."

The Mike Lee is the first leg of the Big Apple Triple. If Friend or Foe can win the New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 17 and the Albany Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25, he would earn his connections a $100,000 bonus.

Dominguez escapes serious injury

Ramon Dominguez suffered a hyper-extended thumb in a spill in Sunday's finale, but he is expected to return to the saddle when racing resumes Wednesday.

Dominguez was aboard Inhaler, who was pressing the early pace until about the quarter pole when the horse suffered a fractured sesamoid in his left foreleg, fell, and unseated Dominguez. Though Dominguez quickly got up, Inhaler, a 5-year-old gelded son of Unbridled's Song, had to be euthanized.

Dominguez won two races on Sunday's card and has a meet-leading 40 wins, five more than Javier Castellano.