From the NYRA Media Team:

Trombetta turf sprinters in strong form for Belmont Stakes Racing Festival

Trainer Michael Trombetta has entered a pair of turf sprinters for 5 1/2-furlong graded stakes events during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, including multiple graded-stakes winner Arzak in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing in Race 9 and last-out stakes-winner Future Is Now in Friday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Intercontinental presented by MTV Solutions in Race 9.

Sonata Stable’s Arzak [post 2, Jaime Torres, 7-2ML] will look to keep the ball rolling after his successful seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Shakertown at Saturday’s distance on April 6 over good turf at Keeneland. The one-length score over returning foe Mischief Magic, who is among an overflow field, came in his first start since a sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park.

“It is a hugely competitive race. It is basically a Breeders’ Cup race,” said Trombetta regarding the Grade 1 Jaipur. “We are hoping he can show up and have a good performance. I think he’s pretty versatile, the only thing that would be an unknown would be if we get a lot of rain, like yielding or something, but other than that he seems to handle whatever we throw at him.”

Before last year’s Breeders’ Cup attempt, the 6-year-old Not This Time horse upset a Saratoga allowance in August and the Grade 2 Woodford at Keeneland in October. The chestnut seemed to return to his 4-year-old form, where he captured Woodbine Racetrack’s Grade 3 Jacques Cartier before a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Highlander there.

“He just put it all together at the second half of last season. It was nice to see that we were able to do that,” said Trombetta.

The Jaipur offers a ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint which will be contested at five furlongs in November at Del Mar.

Bred in Kentucky by John Oxley, Arzak, out of the Tapit mare Delightful Melody, boasts a record of 25-8-3-1 with $824,019 in earnings,

R. Larry Johnson’s Maryland homebred filly Future Is Now [post 5, Paco Lopez, 8-1ML] looks to make the grade after a 2 1/4-length closing score in the The Very One on May 17 over good turf at Pimlico Race Course. The 4-year-old Great Notion bay was awarded a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for the five-furlong stakes score.

“Yet again, a very, very good race. We are all going to try and take a shot to beat the favorite [Roses for Debra, 6-5ML],” Trombetta said. “My filly is in good form and I’m excited to run her.”

Future Is Now had previously finished fifth versus males in the King T. Leatherbury on April 20 at Laurel Park. Usually on or near the lead, as seen when second in the Captiva Island in March at Gulfstream Park, she employed new tactics when rallying from 2 1/2 lengths off-the-pace to her last-out The Very One score.

“She has a good turn of foot. What she did the other day was nice, she rated off the pace and made a run late,” Trombetta said. “It was good, she had not done that before, so that was good.”

After winning her debut when sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs in August at Colonial Downs, Future Is Now has assembled a record of 10-4-1-0 with $214,935 in earnings, all at seven-furlongs or less with eight efforts coming over the grass.

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Neecie Marie to make G1 debut in $750K New York presented by Rivers Casino

Michael Milam’s Grade 3-winner Neecie Marie will test Grade 1 company for the first time in Friday’s $750,000 New York presented by Rivers Casino, a 1 3/16-mile Mellon turf test for older fillies and mares, at the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Cross Traffic enters off a career-best performance on May 11 in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont at the Big A, where she defeated Grade 1-winner Whitebeam by a neck with a deep-closing trip under Hall of Famer Joel Rosario.

“We’re taking a big shot here, but she’s doing really well,” said Reid, Jr. “Her last race certainly earned her way into the big time. The distance is right up her alley and I don’t think we’ve tried her long enough just yet. I think she’ll handle it very well.”

Neecie Marie flashed her talents last fall when coming within a respective neck and a half-length of Eternal Hope when second in the 1 3/8-mile Grade 3 Fasig-Tipton Jockey Club Oaks Invitational and nine-furlong Grade 2 Sands Point, both at Belmont at the Big A.

Reid, Jr. said he has full faith in Rosario to work out a trip from post 7 [15-1 ML] in the hefty 13-horse field Friday.

“It’s a big, bulky field and that’s the biggest problem because she’s going to come from pretty far out of it,” said Reid, Jr. “But the way Joel rode her last time, he knows her even better this time. I’ll just leave it up to him and I’m sure he’ll have a plan in mind. There’s not a whole lot of instructions to give.”

The talented bay has worked once since the Beaugay, covering a half-mile in 49.90 seconds over Parx Racing’s main track Saturday.

“She’s been training good, and I didn’t do too much with her. The turf horses, you don’t have to do a ton with them,” said Reid, Jr. “She had a very nice half a mile the other day. It was just what we were looking for; finished up good and hasn’t missed a note. We’re looking forward to taking the shot.”

Neecie Marie, bred by Jon A. Marshall, has banked $361,950 in total purses through a 10-5-2-0 record.

Reid, Jr. could have a banner weekend at the Spa as he also sends out LC Racing’s Ninetyprcentmaddie [post 1, Jose Lezcano, 8-1 ML] in Saturday’s Grade 2 True North presented by F.W. Webb and Maximus Meridius [post 11, Joel Rosario, 15-1 ML], whom he co-owns with LC Racing and Cash is King, in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun.

Reid, Jr. also entered Cash is King and LC Racing’s Carmelina in Thursday’s Listed $150,000 Jersey Girl but said the multiple stakes-winner is likely to skip the six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies after she drew the rail.

“She’s more than likely going to pass. I think the race is coming up tough and I really don’t like her post position,” said Reid, Jr. “Unless I hear of some scratches, I’m going to pass on the Jersey Girl.”

The Maximus Mischief bay was last seen finishing eighth in the Grade 3 Miss Preakness on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. She boasts three stakes wins as part of a 9-4-1-0 record.

“We were coming back a little quick anyways from the Miss Preakness,” said Reid, Jr. “She’s a nice filly and has run at seven different racetracks and has handled them all, so maybe it’s time to be good to her and give her a few extra weeks before the next one.”