Noonmark earned his first graded stakes victory and rolled to a second consecutive win as he took the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 5.
Sent off at odds of 5-1, the Steve Asmussen trainee is owned by George Bolton, Joan Corrigan and Antony Beck. He bested a field that included 2-1 favorite Mach Ride and grade II winner Keyed Entry, who led the field through much of the six-furlong race but faded to last at the end.
“He’s run well in each of his races this year and I’m really pleased with the way he won because he really doesn’t like being down on the inside like he was today," said co-owner Bolton. "Steve has done a great job bringing him back and he makes most of the decisions as the where to run them, but he’s had experience going to Dubai ($2 million Golden Shaheen Stakes (UAE-I) in late March) and I think he’ll give that some consideration. There aren’t too many chances for sprinters to run for that kind of money.”
Second at the start under jockey Rene Douglas, Noonmark took back to fourth while Keyed Entry vied for the early lead with Finallymadeit through early fractions of :21.95 and :44.85. They went five-eighths in :57.18, and Noonmark was fourth behind Mach Ride as the frontrunners entered the turn. Finallymadeit got the lead by a head, then surrendered to Mach Ride, but Noonmark found room on the rail and got through to claim the victory by two lengths. The final time was 1:09.72.
Noonmark paid $12.60, $5.60, and $3.60. Mach Ride and jockey Elvis Trujillo brought $3.80 and $3, while Finallymadeit returned $4 under jockey Eduardo Nunez. Roi Maudit, Guapeton, Brother Bud, Grand Champion, and Keyed Entry completed the order of finish.
Noonmark is a 5-year-old son of Unbridled's Song , bred in Kentucky by John D. Murphy Sr. as the first foal of the unraced Storm Cat mare In the Storm. Second to Sharp Humor in the 2006 Swale Stakes (gr. II) after finishing fourth in his debut and winning twice after that, he raced through three more stakes, finishing sixth in the Derby Trial, third in the Woody Stephens Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II), and fourth in the Amsterdam (gr. II) at Saratoga. He was then laid off in October after a fifth-place finish in the 2006 Jerome Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II).
The Asmussen trainee returned in July of 2007, making two second-place efforts and a fourth in allowance company before scoring a Nov. 11 allowance victory at Churchill Downs. He now has a 4-3-1 record from 13 career starts. The $60,000 winner’s share of the Mr. Prospector purse pushed his earnings to $235,051.