Updated on 09/17/2011 10:52AM

Tom would rather run than rest

Chip Bott/CB Photography
Peeping Tom, shown winning the James Moseley at Suffolk last month, is in such good shape that trainer Pat Reynolds decided to run him in Friday's Tom Fool Handicap instead of giving him the summer off.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Following Peeping Tom's victory in the James B. Moseley Handicap at Suffolk Downs on June 21 - the gelding's fifth race in nine weeks - trainer Pat Reynolds was inclined to give his millionaire a summer vacation.

Apparently, Peeping Tom had other ideas. So, instead of frolicking around in some paddock on a farm, Peeping Tom will be back in the starting gate Friday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park.

With Grade 1 winners Peeping Tom, Aldebaran, and State City in the field, along with Belmont track-record-holder Najran, the Tom Fool is shaping up to be the race of the day on a terrific 11-race Fourth of July card at Belmont. The Tom Fool overshadows the Prioress - the only Grade 1 six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies in the country - and the Grade 2 New York Handicap for fillies and mares at 10 furlongs on the turf.

Friday's holiday program begins at 1 p.m. Eastern and kicks off a stakes-filled weekend that continues Saturday with the Grade 1 Suburban and Grade 2 Poker handicaps, and concludes Sunday with the Grade 2 Dwyer for 3-year-olds, featuring the return of Sky Mesa.

Reynolds has repeatedly said that Peeping Tom does not like the heat, which is why he planned to give the 6-year-old gelding the summer off and bring him back for a fall campaign. But, Peeping Tom seemingly came out of the Moseley in such good order that not only is he running, but Reynolds said he believes he can upset Aldebaran, who defeated Peeping Tom in the Churchill Downs Handicap and the Met Mile.

"Initially they told me [Aldebaran] was going to California, but he didn't make his plane,' Reynolds said. "He's going to wish he did. [Peeping Tom] is getting his new pair of glue-on shoes this morning. Tell the rest of them to put on their running shoes.'

Peeping Tom will break from the outside post in the eight-horse field and carry 117 pounds, including jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.

Aldebaran, the 122-pound highweight in the Tom Fool, always has his running shoes on. A 5-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, Aldebaran has erased his reputation of perennial bridesmaid this year with victories in the San Carlos, Met Mile, and Churchill Downs Handicap. Trainer Bobby Frankel was considering shipping Aldebaran to California for Saturday's Grade 1 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Invitational Handicap at Hollywood Park, but felt staying in New York would be the better move.

Frankel attributes Aldebaran's success this year to soundness.

"It looks like he's moving better,' Frankel said. "He's always had [puffy] ankles on him, nothing where I though he'd break down or anything. They've settled down pretty good.'

Jerry Bailey compares Aldebaran to Aptitude, another late-runner who changed his ways from sucker-horse to multiple Grade 1 winner as he got older.

"Aptitude was always coming there getting close and not winning,' Bailey said. "All of a sudden he put himself into the race a little more and he started winning. Aldebaran is the same way.'

Both Aldebaran and Peeping Tom perform better when there is speed in front of them. There should plenty of pace in the Tom Fool with the likes of Najran, Ginzano, and Voodoo in the field.

Najran's speed carried him to a dominant 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap here on opening day, a day when the track played uncharacteristically fast. Najran's final time of 1:32.24 for the mile established a Belmont track record and equaled the world record for the distance.

Najran was unable to duplicate the effort in the Metropolitan Handicap when he dueled for six furlongs before fading to seventh. Najran had only 19 days between those two races. He has had five weeks since the Met Mile.

State City, who won the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba, will try to bounce back after his fifth-place finish in the sloppy True North Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day.

Voodoo has fired some of his best races going seven furlongs, including defeating Aldebaran in a Saratoga allowance last summer. Northern Rock hails from the white-hot barn of Kiaran McLaughlin. Vodka and Ginzano complete the field.