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Neverland Rock will look to earn his first victory of the year in his sixth start, headlining a 10-horse field of 3-year-olds in Sunday's $100,000 Allied Forces Stakes at six furlongs on the Widener turf to close out the Belmont Park Fall Championship meet's Opening Weekend.
Neverland Rock, an English-bred son of No Nay Never, made his five first starts in England, most notably winning an allowance race in June of 2018 at Newmarket. Transferred to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen following a seventh-place finish in the British Stallion Studs E.B.F. at Ripon Racecourse, he has made seven starts for his new conditioner, including a pair of second-place finishes in first-level allowance races at Belmont.
Race 8 at Belmont Park on Sunday, September 08 - Post 4:45 PM
|2||Uncle Benny||4-1||Manuel Franco
|3||No Bang No Boom (IRE)||5-1||Dylan Davis
|5||Releasethethunder||3-1|| Rider TBA
|7||Neverland Rock (GB)||7-2||John Velazquez
|9||Achilles Warrior||8-1||Flavien Prat
|10||Chilly in Charge||12-1||Eric Cancel
In his last two starts, he ran third in the Grade 3 Quick Call on July 11 and second in the Mahony on August 7 at Saratoga Race Course.
"He's shipped down from Saratoga in good order where he had his last two works in preparation for this race," said Toby Sheets, assistant to Asmussen. "He's had two seconds from three starts at Belmont and seems to be improving, so hopefully he can get to that next level and pick up a stakes win here at Belmont."
With Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard for the first time, Neverland Rock will leave from post 7.
Pulsate, for owner Marc Keller and trainer Bobby Ribaudo, will make his first start in two months as he looks to rebound off a sixth-place finish in the Manila on July 4 at Belmont.
A son of Speightstown, Pulsate broke his maiden in his fourth career start in February at Aqueduct Racetrack. He followed up with an allowance victory on April 14 at the Big A and a second-place finish in the Paradise Creek in May at Belmont. Drawing the rail, Pulsate will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano.
Conditioner Wesley Ward entered Irish-bred No Bang No Boom for Ice Wine Stable.
A son of No Nay Never, he began his career on the dirt and switched to the grass, where he broke his maiden by two lengths in his second start at Gulfstream Park in December. Following a fifth-place finish in an optional-claiming race in March at Gulfstream and a sixth-place running over the dirt at Keeneland in April, No Bang No Boom returned to the grass in triumphant fashion by winning an optional claiming event on June 9 at Belmont.
No Bang No Boom will leave from post 3 with Dylan Davis aboard.
Conditioner Linda Rice entered a pair of formidable contenders in Elektronic, who she also owns, and Readyforprimetime for Lakland Farm.
Elektronic, a son of City Zip, will look to improve off a fourth-place finish in the Mahony. Previously, he ran second in the Grade 3 Quick Call after breaking his maiden in his second career start in May at Belmont before going on to capture an allowance in May and finish fifth in an allowance optional-claiming race on June 14.
Readyforprimetime, a son of More Than Ready, enters the Allied Forces after breaking his maiden in his fourth start last out on August 25 at Saratoga.
Elektronic will leave from post 6 with Jose Lezcano up. Readyforprimetime will depart from post 8 with Junior Alvarado up.
Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' Uncle Benny, who captured the Futurity in October sprinting on the Belmont turf ahead of a strong second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, will look to get back on winning track in the Allied Forces.
Trained by Jason Servis, the Declaration of War bay stumbled at the start of the Mahony in his seasonal bow and never factored. He will be piloted by Manny Franco from post 2.
Also entered is Mucho (Joel Rosario, post 4) for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott and owners Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider; Achilles Warrior (Flavien Prat, post 9) for owner David Merjan and conditioner Mark Hennig, who will try turf for the first time after running seventh in the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 28 at Saratoga; and Chilly in Charge (post 10, Eric Cancel) for conditioner Miguel Vera and Newton Anner Stud.
Release the Thunder for conditioner Christophe Clement and Sumaya U.S. Stable, is entered for the main-track only.
The Allied Forces is slated as Race 8 on Sunday's 9-race card. First post is 1 p.m.
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