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Neon Light Tepid Choice in Pebbles

Neon Light tops a field of 10 evenly matched 3-year-old fillies coming together for Monday’s $100,000 Pebbles Stakes, the Columbus Day feature at Belmont Park.


After posting a 2-0-1 record from three starts in Germany, Neon Light was acquired by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin for Sheila Rosenblum following her seventh-place finish in her United States debut, the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga Race Course on July 28. 


“The Lake George was a tough race and she was really wide the whole time. I think she ran well to finish seventh, beaten only two and a quarter lengths,” said McLaughlin. “We bought her because we liked the way she raced and I think she’ll improve”


The daughter of Refuse To Bend has settled in nicely in her new home in the McLaughlin barn at Belmont, breezing four furlongs in 49.14 on October 3 in preparation for the one-mile turf race.


“She’s a really nice filly and she’s training very well. I think she’ll run well over any ground,” said McLaughlin of Neon Light, 2-for-2 on yielding turf courses in Europe. 


Alan Garcia rides Neon Light, the morning-line favorite at 7-2 and high weight at 121 pounds, from post position 5.


Grecian Maiden enters the race for trainer Michael Trombetta as one of two fillies in the field that have won a stakes race this year, having taken the $100,000 Twin Lights in her most recent start on September 4 at Monmouth Park. Staying just off the pace until the final yards, the daughter of Ghostzapper got up to win by a nose on the wire. 


The filly’s regular rider, Julian Pimentel, will be aboard from the rail at 6-1 on the morning line.


The only other filly with a stakes win in 2010 is the Stanley Hough-trained Sea Road. The daughter of Tale of the Cat has four wins from eight lifetime starts, the most recent coming in the Hattie Mosely Stakes on August 7 at Saratoga, which came between two  losses.


“The filly has run two off races for us, and both have been on really hot days,” said Hough. “She doesn’t seem to like that and I’m hoping that was the reason. She likes the weather here, so I’m hoping she runs really well.”


Sea Road will carry rider Cornelio Velasquez from post position 4 at 15-1 on the morning line.


Godolphin Stable’s House of Grace, 2-0-1 from three starts as a juvenile, is still seeking her first victory of 2010. After nearly eight months off following her third-place finish in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, the Limehouse filly returned to finish third in an optional claimer, followed by an eighth-place effort in the Grade 2 Lake George and a fifth-place finish in the Riskaverse at Saratoga.


“She hasn’t really gotten a good pace set up or a good turf course yet,” said Godolphin assistant trainer Henry Spiller of the late-running filly. “Hopefully, in the Pebbles she’ll get a firm turf and a better pace set up.


“This turf course at Belmont should probably suit her style better. It’s easier to make up a bit more ground here than at Saratoga,” he added.


Mike Luzzi will ride House of Grace from post position 9 at 10-1 on the morning line.


The competitive field of fillies also includes the Graham Motion-trained Aruna, the 4-1 second choice on the morning line who came from eighth to win a Saratoga allowance on September 6 in her American debut; Profiteroles, an Afleet Alex filly nosed out by Grecian Maiden in the Twin Lights, and Bet On the Blue, who holds a record of 3-4-2 from 12 starts for trainer Stephen DiMauro including a third in the Twin Lights.


Rounding out the field are Musical Rain, making her second start in America after a successful career in Ireland; Ultimate Class, who finished second in the Riskaverse, and Ask Me Anything, coming off an impressive allowance victory for trainer Leigh Delacour.


The field for the $100,000 Pebbles:








Grecian Maiden (KY)

J Pimentel


M J Trombetta



Aruna (KY)

R A Dominguez


H G Motion



Profiteroles (KY)

E Trujillo


K J Breen



Sea Road (KY)

C H Velasquez


S M Hough



Neon Light (GER)

A Garcia


K P McLaughlin



Musical Rain (IRE)

R Maragh


D L Romans



Ask Me Anything (PA)

L Garcia


L Delacour



Ultimate Class (KY)

J Castellano


G Weaver



House Of Grace (KY)

M J Luzzi


S bin Suroor



Bet On the Blue (KY)

P L Cotto, Jr.


S L DiMauro






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