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Empire Classic Next for Friend Or Foe

John Kimmel will have a pair of leading contenders on New York Showcase Day as the trainer is scheduled to saddle Friend Or Foe in the $200,000 Empire Classic and Uncle T Seven in the $125,000 Mohawk on October 23.


The Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles on the main track will be Friend Or Foe’s first start against New York-breds since his victory in the Mike Lee at Belmont in June. The sophomore made two starts at Saratoga following that performance, finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy in July and sixth in the Grade 1 Travers in August.


“This will be his first race since a very troubled trip in the Travers,” said Kimmel, who trains Friend Or Foe for Chester and Mary Broman. “He got banged around pretty tough and got knocked out in the middle of the track. He came back with a cut in his leg and he got an infection. We were contemplating running him back in a couple of different spots before we decided to give him some extra time. He’ll have his last breeze tomorrow.”


Kimmel added that Alex Solis will ride Friend Or Foe for the first time in the Empire Classic.


Uncle T Seven, owned by Thomas N. Mina, Suzann Bobley, MFRG Racing Stable, and Dennis J. Brida, will aim for his second stakes victory of the meet, having won the Ashley T. Cole on September 12. The 4-year-old by Freud was 11th in last year’s edition of the Mohawk, a 1 1/8-mile race on the turf.


“He ran a nice race when he won the Ashley T. Cole, and he’s done very well since that race,” said Kimmel. “It’s the next logical spot for him. He’ll be ridden this time by Ramon Dominguez, and I couldn’t be happier with his progress.”

Fox Ridge Farm’s Naughty New Yorker has made four starts in the Empire Classic and is “50/50” to compete in the 2010 edition.


“He’s actually for sale as a stallion in the Keeneland November sale, and it’s possible that if he gets sold before the sale that he’d be off to his new career,” said the 8-year-old’s trainer Pat Kelly. “He’s nominated to the Empire Classic, and if I get a breeze into him one of these days we’ll think about it.”


Naughty New Yorker, whose previous best showing in the Empire Classic was a fourth in the 2007 edition has posted a record of 12-10-10 from 65 starts and has earned over $1 million in his career.


“We actually tried to sell him a couple of years ago and couldn’t get him moved,” said Kelly of the 10-time stakes winner. “The people in the bloodstock division think that if people see him catalogued as a stallion prospect, maybe they can get him sold.”


Kelly said a strong performance in the Maid of the Mist, also set for Showcase Day, by 2-year-old filly Upper East Sider, an eight-length winner of a New York-bred turf sprint at Belmont on September 12, could lead to a start in the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs on November 5. Upper East Sider, ninth on the dirt at Saratoga in her only previous outing, was entered in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo at Belmont on October 3 and in yesterday’s Jessamine at Keeneland, but failed to draw into either race.


“There are no grass races for her, so we are going try her in the seven-eighths race on the dirt,” said Kelly of Upper East Sider, also owned by Peter Schiff’s Fox Ride Farm. “Her one dirt race at Saratoga was on a muddy track. We thought that if we got to run her in a stakes and if she did well that we might go to the Breeders’ Cup. We’re not going to get into the Breeders’ Cup if we don’t do something soon, but we’re going to give it a try.”




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