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ELMONT, N.Y. – In search of his first win since capturing the 2015 Grade 1 Belmont Derby, Colts Neck Stables’ Force The Pass will face a pair of hard-knocking New York-breds along with two other competitors in the $150,000 Forbidden Apple for 4-year-olds and up at one mile on Mellon turf course Saturday at Belmont Park.
Trained by Alan Goldberg, Force the Pass has made his last six starts against graded stakes competition, finishing no worse than third. Last out, the 4-year-old son of Speightstown raced three-wide to finish second in the Grade 3 Poker Stakes on June 18 at Belmont.
“He’s doing well,” said Goldberg. “This happened to be a good spot where we’re able to get a race in and hopefully run him back in the [Grade 1] Fourstardave [August 13, Saratoga] if he does well here.”
Drawing the rail, Force the Pass will depart with Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard.
Looking to build off his first career stakes win on May 30 at Belmont in the $125,000 Kingston, Tapitation will once again look to move forward for trainer Ralph Nicks and Whisper Hill Farm. A 5-year-old New York-bred and son of Tapit, he has won four out of his last five starts since joining Nicks stable last fall.
“He’s done very well for us,” said Nicks. “He’s won four out of his last five races so we really have no complaints. He’s a pretty honest horse. The Kingston was a huge for us the way he finished that day against a nice field. He’s looked good and trained well since that race so we’re hoping for another good effort.”
Drawing post 2, Tapitation will leave with Javier Castellano in the irons.
New York-breds and local fan favorites King Kreesa and Lubash will each look to rebound in the Forbidden Apple. With 14 in-the-money finishes from 18 starts at Belmont, King Kreesa enters off a fifth-place finish in the Poker Stakes for trainer David Donk and owners Susan and Gerald Kresa. Previous to that race, he led briefly in the stretch before being caught by a late-running Tapitation in the Kingston. Drawing post 3, King Kreesa will have the services of Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the irons.
Lubash, 9-year-old son of Freud, enters for Aliyu Ben J Stables and trainer Christophe Clement. Fourth in the Kingston, he will look to improve after racing four-wide most of the way. With Junior Alvarado up, Lubash will leave from post 3.
Rounding out the field and shipping from Parx is Brickyard Kitten for trainer Guadalupe Preciado and Briardale Stable. A 6-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding, he most recently won an optional claimer on June 25.
Also on Saturday, Tremont winner Silver Mission will attempt to extend his unbeaten streak to three in the $125,000 Rockville Centre for New York-bred 2-year-olds. Trainer by Todd Pletcher, the Mission Impazable colt has won both his starts in front-running fashion, capturing the 5 ½-furlong Tremont in 1:03.78 after winning first time out on April 21 at Aqueduct.
Challenging him will be a pair of juveniles who broke their maidens in eye-catching fashion: the Bruce Brown-trained Manifest Destiny, a 8 ¾-length winner on June 17,and the Gary Contessa-trained Runaway Lute, who won by 12 lengths on May 28.
Rounding out the field for the Rockville Centre, which will be run as Race 3, are maidens Concatulations and Ethan Hunt.
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