Noble Tune wins the Pilgrim Stakes.
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Noble Tune wins the Pilgrim Stakes.
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Coglianese Photos

Noble Tune Hits Every Note in Pilgrim Victory

Noble Tune earned a trip to the Breeders' Cup with a visually impressive Pilgrim win.

At 2 years old, Noble Tune is displaying racing wisdom beyond his years.

On Oct. 8 the regally-bred Unbridled's Song colt earned a spot in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) by rallying from sixth to win the $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) against six other 2-year-olds on the inner turf at Belmont Park.

In the Pilgrim, Noble Tune displayed the same discipline early, and efficient stride late, that he unveiled in winning his maiden special weight debut on Sept. 3 at Saratoga, when he also rallied from sixth to win. Winning trainer Chad Brown said Noble Tune showed great maneuverability in winning the Pilgrim.

"It was much like his debut. I thought he was very professional; he did some things you see experienced horses do," Brown said. "It's always encouraging to see a horse with this much class who has the sense to maneuver around, slip inside, slip outside, accelerate, and switch off early in the race."

The Pilgrim is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race for the Juvenile Turf. Brown plans to point the grandson of multiple grade I winner and champion 3-year-old filly Serena's Song to the 1 1/16-mile race on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.

Jockey Ramon Dominguez, who has been aboard for both starts, sensed that class in the Pilgrim.

"As soon as I asked him he just took off and cut the corner beautifully and got into the clear," Dominguez said. "I was very impressed by that move."

Noble Tune launched that move and seized the lead coming out of the far turn, then drew off to a 2 1/2-length victory over Notacatbutallama. Sent off as the 1.3-1 favorite, Noble Tune completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.81 on yielding turf. Early leader Special Skills held third.

Noble Cat returned $4.60 to win, $3.10 to place, and $2.40 to show. Repole Stable's Notacatbutallama paid $3.90 to place and $2.80 to show while Richard Santulli's Special Skills returned $4.60 to show.

Breeder Dell Ridge Farm campaigns the new stakes winner with Martin Schwartz, who bought into the colt following his impressive maiden victory. Noble Tune's Pilgrim win had the owner singing his own tune.

"I started singing, 'We're going to California.' I was very lucky I was able to buy into the horse after Saratoga," Schwartz said. "I don't buy colts, so this is a special one. He's got a great pedigree."

Noble Tune is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Serena's Cat. Serena's Cat is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Serena's Tune, a half sister to grade I winner Sophisticat, grade II winners Grand Reward and Harlington, and grade III winner Schramsberg.

Brown also trains Balance the Books , who captured the Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland on Oct. 7 and also is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.

"He and Balance the Books are both very, very nice prospects. I couldn't separate the two right now," Brown said. "I'm very, very lucky to have two of them, and when you're in this position you just try to keep them healthy."

Because of recent rain in Elmont, N.Y., the Pilgrim was moved from its scheduled Oct. 7 date to the Oct. 8 holiday racing card.