Well there goes one of my two selections for the Whitney Handicap. The prestigious Grade 1 stakes race set for August 6th at Saratoga looks to be drawing one of the deepest fields seen this year in the older male division. With horses like Sidney's Candy, Tizway, Giant Oak, Flat Out, and Rail Trip pointing for it, the 1 1/8 affair should be one of the highlights of a great meet. Another reason for my anticipation for the race is, I really felt like I had a couple of horses that will run big at decent odds. That is, until I noticed the entries for tomorrow's Evan Shipman Stakes at the Spa included the name Friend Or Foe. In the Whitney, I expect a large chunk of the bettor's money to flow towards Sidney's Candy, Flat Out, and Tizway. This means some very nice horses, like Friend Or Foe would be slightly ignored at the windows. Oh well, now it is time to do two things: regroup and get ready to focus all my attention on the other horse I like on August 6, and make sure I am in front of the television tomorrow at 4:56pm tomorrow to watch Friend Or Foe show me what he can do.
I have been a fan of the New York bred son of Friends Lake for some time. Since last June to be exact, when he dismantled some well thought of state-breds in the Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park. Under moderate urging, Friend Or Foe was much the best that day, and in sparkling time for the seven furlongs. That win stretched his unbeaten streak to three, but that would be as far as the streak would go. He was thrown to the wolves next time out in the open Jim Dandy Stakes against some of the best three-year-olds in the country, and in his first race at more than seven-eighths. In defeat, he ran well that day, for trainer John Kimmel, to finish 4th, beaten only three lengths, and just a half-length behind eventual Travers winner, Afleet Express. The Travers was a case of too much too soon for Friend Or Foe, and when he came back from a little freshener, he turned in a huge performance in the Empire Classic last October. Defeating the best of the older state-breds, the young grandson of both A.P. Indy and Unbridled looked all the part of a future star in winning off by five lengths in 1:46 4/5 for one of the fastest nine furlongs of 2010. You can see why I was hoping to see him in the Whitney.
[Do you think Friend Or Foe could handle this bunch in the Whitney?]
Although, I must admit, the idea of getting one more race into him before re-entering into grade one competition may be just what this colt needs to be at his best. The Evan Shipman should set him up very well for the Woodward Stakes in less than six weeks. But first things first, while I believe Friend Or Foe absolutely towers over tomorrow's field, there are some questions that need to be answered. The big one being the track. Since winning in his debut at Gulfstream Park, he has raced seven times, all in New York. His record at Belmont is 4 for 4, while at Saratoga and Aqueduct, he is 0 for 3. This can be easily explained off, as those three losses were all very difficult races early in his progression, but still, until he fires his best outside of Belmont, you have to wonder. The other question remains, is Friend Or Foe as good as I think he is. His one race this year, a hard fought victory over millionaire Rail Trip, was a fine return to the races, but the fact remains that he has yet to win a big race against open company. I think he will, but we know it will not come in the Whitney.
As for tomorrow's race, Friend Or Foe will have to run well to win. These New York breds are a salty crew, and you can't expect pros like Icabad Crane and Stormy's Majesty just to roll over for the future star. Luckily, I think he will run well … very well. Well enough for me to wish he was in the Whitney. Oh well, looks like I just have one horse to bet that day. I never did tell you his name, did I? I will not keep you in suspense any longer. I like Apart.