06/11/2010 12:00AM

Haynesfield returns with N.Y.-breds


ELMONT, N.Y. - After recording back-to-back stakes victories last fall, Haynesfield was about to be given the opportunity to take on some of the elite horses in training early in his 4-year-old season.

But a foot injury suffered in December curtailed plans to run him in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap in February. The injury and the failure of races to fill have Haynesfield only making it back to the races Sunday at Belmont Park in a $53,000 classified allowance restricted to New York-breds going one mile.

Haynesfield, the 2009 New York-bred horse of the year and champion 3-year-old, meets five rivals, including 2007 New York-bred horse of the year Naughty New Yorker and 2007 statebred champion 2-year-old Giant Moon.

Haynesfield, New York's 3-year-old star of the winter of 2009, returned from a seven-month layoff last October with a second-place finish in a sprint stakes, followed by wins in the $250,000 Empire Classic against New York-breds and the Grade 3 Discovery at Aqueduct on Nov. 21.

In his second work back after the Discovery, Haynesfield tore off a piece of his foot, known as a grabbed quarter, forcing him out of serious training. Haynesfield has worked 10 times leading to his return.

"We're very pleased with him," said Toby Sheets, the New York-based assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. "Hopefully, off this layoff we are as good as we left off."

Cornelio Velasquez has the call on Haynesfield from post 5.

Giant Moon, hampered by foot problems himself, was off for 11 months from May 2009 until April, when he was ambitiously spotted in the Grade 3 Westchester and finished eighth. Trainer Richard Schosberg admitted he made a mistake by running him in that spot but was gratified when Giant Moon came back to win a New York-bred allowance by three-quarters of a length here May 16. Schosberg believes the one-mile distance of Sunday's race favors Haynesfield, as does the draw. Giant Moon breaks from the rail, while Haynesfield is in post 5.

"He's going to be very, very tough to beat, especially since he's outside of us," said Schosberg, who has Edgar Prado to ride Giant Moon. "Edgar's going to have to be masterful to get the job done from the inside."

Naughty New Yorker, coupled with Good Card as one betting entry, is winless in his last 18 starts dating back to Feb. 18, 2008. Groomedforvictory won three consecutive one-turn mile races last fall.