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Aviate won the Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) in May at Churchill Downs.
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Rick Samuels

Aviate, Unbridled Humor Lead Noble Damsel

Field of seven fillies and mares entered for Sunday feature at Belmont.

Unbridled Humor will attempt to start a new winning streak when she competes in the $100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) Sept. 18 at Belmont Park.

The one-mile turf race for fillies and mares drew seven, as well as four main-track-only entrants.

A Live Oak Plantation homebred, Unbridled Humor opened her career with four victories including a nose decision in the Memories of Silver overnight stakes last November at Aqueduct and an 8 1/2-length score in a Delaware Park allowance on July 5. She made her graded stakes debut in her most recent start, tiring to seventh after setting the pace as the favorite in the Diana (gr. IT) at Saratoga on July 30.

“It might have been too much too soon,” said trainer Graham Motion. “We threw her into the deep end a little bit last time as she’s still inexperienced. This is a more conservative spot, being that it’s not a grade I. That said, it will still be competitive.”

Unbridled Humor inherited the lead in the paceless Diana but was unable to relax. Motion hopes the pace scenario will be different in the Noble Damsel as he continues to work on the 4-year-old’s ability to rate.

“In the Diana, there was no other pace, and we were unable to get her covered up,” said Motion. “She’s tricky to train, and we usually send her out to the field instead of having her train on the track. We’ve spent most of our time trying to get her to settle, but she has a mind of her own.”

Ramon Dominguez will ride Unbridled Humor, the 9-5 morning-line second choice.

Also seeking a return to the winner’s circle is Juddmonte Farms’ Aviate, fifth in two straight starts at the Spa, the Diana and the Ballston Spa (gr. IIT). In her three previous stateside efforts, the 4-year-old rallied for third in the Honey Fox (gr. IIIT) in March at Gulfstream Park, won the Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) in May at Churchill Downs, and finished sixth in the Foxwoods Just a Game (gr. IT) in June at Belmont.

“She had a nice breeze this weekend (four furlongs in :50 Sept. 10 at Belmont),” said Leana Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “She’s been at Belmont and has been doing well.”

Aviate, the 8-5 favorite on the morning line, will break from post 2 with Kent Desormeaux in the irons.

The Noble Damsel will be the first United States start for Trevor C. Stewart’s Thai Haku, who enters the race off a ninth in the group III Prix de la Porte Maillot on July 2 at Longchamp and a seventh in the group III Oak Tree on July 29 at Goodwood, with both starts having come against males. Over the winter at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, she was second by a neck in the Cape Verdi (UAE-III) and fifth in the Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-II).

Thai Haku, who won a 2010 listed stakes in France as a 3-year-old, will have the services of Jose Lezcano. She was installed at 4-1 on the morning line.

The Noble Damsel field also includes Aquitaine, Sea Road, and the coupled entry of Twlight Memory and Spring Party. Rihanna, Kid Kate, Dynazaper, and Hit It Rich were entered for the main track only.

$100,000 Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:18 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Twilight Memory (KY), J Sanchez, 116, J Odintz
2. Aviate (GB), K J Desormeaux, 123, W I Mott
3. Thai Haku (IRE), J Lezcano, 116, M Delzangles
4. Aquitaine (KY), J Bravo, 116, M R Matz
5. Unbridled Humor (FL), R A Dominguez, 116, H G Motion
6. Sea Road (KY), C H Velasquez, 116, S M Hough
7. Spring Party (KY), M R Cruz, 116, J Odintz
Main Track Only
8. Rihanna (PER), No rider, 118, M R Matz
9. Kid Kate (KY), No rider, 120, C C Brown
10. Dynazaper (KY), No rider, 118, W I Mott
11. Hit It Rich (KY),  No rider, 118, C R McGaughey III