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Friend or Foe Finally Returns to Races

bio JohnKimmel
Photo: Breederscup.com

“It’s been a long time coming.”

 

So said trainer John Kimmel of Friend Or Foe’s return to the races on Sunday at Aqueduct for the first time since August 6, 2011. The 5-year-old will face five other New York-breds in the $80,000 Fourstars Allstar at a mile, his first appearance since a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga.

 

“I think I saw 460 days,” said Kimmel of the layoff. “He’s doing really well and he’s ready for a race. We’ll see what he’s got. He’s very sound, very happy and his fitness is good. We’ll kind of get the rust off and see what we have.”

 

Winner of his first three starts in 2010, including the Mike Lee for New York-breds, Friend Or Foe next finished fourth in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy and sixth in the Grade 1 Travers. He returned to restricted company and set a stakes record of 1:46.94 in winning the Empire Classic before closing out his 3-year-old campaign with a fifth behind Jersey Town in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap.

In 2011, he made only one other start besides the Whitney, defeating Rail Trip in a swiftly run overnight stakes in June at Belmont.

“We had him about halfway back last spring,” said Kimmel of Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred son of Friends Lake. “I had him up to about a half a mile fit, and the area which has been a problem, which is the medial branch of the inside suspensory branch, just started to get a little warm. So we tried to be as conservative as possible. We gave him a little extra time. He ended getting a foot problem at the farm and what I thought would be one or two months turned into three months. But since he’s been here he’s been pretty much consistent. He showed up late at the Saratoga meet and he was mad because he didn’t get to go into his big corner stall.”

 

Since his return from Ocala, Friend Or Foe has worked 10 times, most recently a three-furlong blowout on Wednesday in 37.66 over the training track.

 

“At the farm he was in the [aqua-therapy machine] daily, and when he came back he had a pretty good foundation in him,” said Kimmel. “It was a matter of getting an extra level of conditioning through his breezes. He’s had four or five five-eighths breezes coming into this thing.

 

“Hopefully he can rebound and have a pretty good campaign,” he added. “The handicap division has never been very deep. If we can get him back, we’ll take him down to Florida and hopefully have a good campaign. If he can stay healthy, there’s no reason he can’t compete at the top tier in the handicap division.”

 

 

 

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