For the past two month, Jeff Barkley has been settling into his new role as the trainer of record for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Stables, a position that opened up when Larry Jones announced he would be retiring after the Breeders’ Cup in 2009. A former assistant to Jones, the 47-year-old native of Indiana had been out on his own for the past three years, racing primarily at Prairie Meadows and Turfway Park.

He was successful enough, having complied a 10-12-8 mark from 66 starters through the first 10 months of 2008, but when the call came from Porter, there wasn’t much hesitation.

“It was a big change coming here,” said Barkley, who is now based at Fair Hill in Maryland. “When I went out on my own, I was training lesser horses, trying to make my mark. This was the kind of opportunity you look for. They buy the right kind of horses and it was an opportunity to move up. It was a good career move.”

Since November 1, Barley has saddled 22 starters for Fox Hill, leading three of them into the winner’s circle, including Blowing Kisses, who will make the first start of her four-year-old campaign on New Year’s Day in the $65,000-added Interborough Stakes for fillies and mares going six furlongs at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Another highlight on January 1 is the popular calendar promotion. Fans attending the races will receive a New York Racing Association calendar featuring photographs of the stars of 2008 with the purchase of any program, or by buying a $1 calendar coupon.

Blowing Kisses, a daughter of Vindication out of the Citidancer mare Hookedonthefeelin, has hit the board in all eight of her lifetime starts, and a month ago at Philadelphia Park rallied from sixth to take a 6½-furlong allowance in the mud for her first win of the year.

“That was a nice race last time out,” said Barkley, who trains 23 Fox Hill horses. “The Interborough will give her a chance to get some black type, and if she runs her race she should be right there.”

Although she is the youngest of the six entered fillies and mares in the Interborough, Blowing Kisses, who broke her maiden at Belmont Park in September, 2007, is not the most lightly raced. Also with eight lifetime starts is the five-year-old Zada Belle, who will be making her first start for Tom Albertrani carrying the colors of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable.

Winner of the Seton Hall Stakes at the Meadowlands in October, Zada Belle’s only losses in 2008 came against graded stakes competition, having won four of her seven starts. A daughter of Indian Charlie, she was purchased by Darley following her nine-length maiden victory at Santa Anita in the fall of 2006, but did not return to the races until February of 2008, when she won an allowance at Santa Anita.

C.P. Racing Stables’ Are We Dreamin shortens up from a mile and 70 yards as she goes for her third straight victory at the Big A. Trained by Randi Persaud, the five-year-old daughter of Yes It’s True nosed out Weathered in the final jump to take an overnight stakes on the inner track on December 12 in her last start.

The Interborough also drew G. Chris Coleman’s Coli Bear, a six-year-old daughter of Formal Dinner who will be making her 32nd start in the Interborough. Trained by Bruce Levine, Coli Bear won an overnight stakes at Finger Lakes in October, and was a hard-fought second in the mud in the Cornucopia Stakes at Philadelphia Park in November.

Also coming out of the Cornucopia is Edward P. Evans’ Intentional Fever, who finished eighth in the six-furlong race. In her last appearance in New York in 2007, the Anthony Dutrow-trained daughter of Stormin Fever was third in an off-the-turf overnight stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Jeff Singer’s A Rose for You, winner of three straight, was entered but finished second at Mountaineer Park on Tuesday.

The field for the $65,000-added Interborough Stakes
PP Horse Wgt. Jockey Trainer
1 Coli Bear 121 Rajiv Maragh Bruce Levine
2 A Rose for You 119 Alan Garcia Michael Trombetta
3 Are We Dreamin 121 Stewart Elliott Randi Persaud
4 Blowing Kisses 119 David Cohen Jeff Barkley
5 Intentional Fever 119 Javier Catsellano Anthony Dutrow
6 Zada Belle 121 Ramon Dominguez Tom Albertrani