A group of familiar foes will battle in Friday's $100,000 Flat Out for 4-year-olds and up going 1 3/8 miles on the main track at Belmont Park.
Set to make his second start of the year, Centennial Farms' Rocketry will look to improve off a fifth-place finish last out in the Skip Away on March 29 at Gulfstream Park won by fellow Flat Out rival Marconi.
A 5-year-old son of Hard Spun, Rocketry zoomed to an impressive victory on September 30 in the Temperence Hill at Belmont, setting a track record of 2:40.18 for 1 ¾ miles, besting a record formerly held by Man o' War. The talented horse also stayed successfully on November 2 in the Grade 2 Marathon at Churchill, matching a career best 100 Beyer Speed Figure for both efforts.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he is hopeful that a return to Belmont will encourage a return to form for Rocketry.
“I thought he ran decent last time,” said Jerkens. “He didn't have any pace ahead of him to run into and usually it's tough to win at Gulfstream that way, which is usually speed favoring. He's trained great coming out of that race, and hopefully with Belmont's wide sweeping turns that will benefit his style as compared to Gulfstream. If all goes well, we'll look to target the [Grade 2, $400,000] Brooklyn from here.”
With journeyman Rajiv Maragh named to ride, Rocketry will leave from post six.
Trainer Jason Servis entered Monongahela for owners Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith.
Purchased by his owners and transferred to Servis following a second-place finish in the Queens County on December 22 at Aqueduct, the 5-year-old K One King Pennsylvania-bred has posted a pair of impressive second-place finishes in the John B. Campbell on February 16 at Laurel Park and last out in the Grade 3 Excelsior besting Flat Out foe Tour de Force.
With Dylan Davis named to ride for the first time, Monongahela will leave from post eight.
Trainer Rob Atras will saddle a pair of top contenders in Roaming Union and Royal Albert Hall.
Roaming Union was claimed for $62,500 by Atras on April 13 for owner Lawrence Roman out of a good third in a one-mile event on a sloppy Big A track.
A 4-year-old son of Union Rags, Roaming Union has previous success at a distance of ground having captured a nine-furlong $50,000 claiming tilt on February 22 at Aqueduct by four lengths.
Roaming Union will leave from post 5 under Eric Cancel.
Royal Albert Hall, a 7-year-old son of Royal Applause, is a veteran of 41 career starts competing mostly on the turf. The 7-year-old Royal Applause gelding was transferred to Atras over the winter, arriving in New York from a pair of dirt starts at Zia Park.
The hard-trying bay, who boasts a career record of 3-10-9, was a rallying second on February 21 on a sloppy Aqueduct main track in his first start for new connections.
In his most recent outing, Royal Albert Hall provided Atras with his first NYRA circuit stakes win when rallying to a 1 3/4-length score on March 2 in the 1 5/16-mile Bernardini at Aqueduct.
Luis Reyes will pilot Royal Albert Hall for the first time from the outside post in a field of nine.
Also entered is Marconi for trainer Todd Pletcher; G Zap for trainer Dave Cannizzo; Tour de Force for trainer Rudy Rodriguez; Forewarned for trainer Uriah St. Lewis; and Twisted Tom for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.
The Flat Out is slated as Race 8 on Friday's nine-race card. First post is 1:30 p.m.
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