Noble's Promise made headlines when he finished a close third in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and fifth in the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Most recently he posted an impressive victory in the six-furlong Aristides Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs June 4 in his second start this year.
Trainer Ken McPeek has chosen to keep the Cuvee colt sprinting. Noble’s Promise goes into the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II) at six furlongs at Calder Casino and Race Course July 9 as one of the favorites with longtime Calder champion jockey Manoel Cruz coming home for the mount.
The Smile Sprint, the 11th race on the card, is scheduled to go off at 5:07 (EDT). A trophy will be presented to the winning owner and trainer.
Noble’s Promise will be making his first start at Calder. He has won or placed in seven stakes in his 14 career outings.
Trainer David Fawkes sent out Harold Queen’s Big Drama to capture the Smile Sprint last summer in a campaign that climaxed with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Churchill Downs and Eclipse Award honors. Fawkes has a worthy candidate in this year’s Smile Sprint in Donald Dizney’s 4-year-old colt Apriority. Luis Saez rides.
Calder-based Apriority won two races at Calder late last year under Saez. He has made all five of his starts elsewhere this season, most recently losing a nose decision when second in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) May 7. Before that the son of Grand Slam finished second in the Carter Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct in early April.
Another accomplished invader for the Smile Sprint will be Paul Pompa Jr.’s 5-year-old gelding This Ones for Phil with jockey Javier Castellano aboard for trainer Rick Dutrow. The race actually will be a home coming for This Ones for Phil as he was developed at Calder early in his career by trainer Kathleen O’Connell for breeder Gilbert Campbell and later sold to his current connections privately late in his 2-year-old season.
This Ones for Phil, by Untuttable, started this season with a win in the Decathlon Stakes at six furlongs at Monmouth Park in May. He then ran second in the six-furlong True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park June 11.
Trainer Bob Baffert sent Mike Pegram’s Woke up Dreamin to capture the Smile in 2005 and sends Kaleem Shah’s 5-year-old Irrefutable to make his stakes debut with jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. The son of Unbridled's Song has won four of seven starts with two seconds and posted a wire-to-wire score at Santa Anita in March and one at Churchill Downs last out May 4.
Giant Ryan goes into the Smile Sprint with four consecutive wins, the first three of which came under C.H. Velasquez, who gets the mount in the Smile Sprint, and the last of which came in the Ponche Handicap at Calder June 11 over Smile Sprint contender Royal Tricon. Giant Ryan, by Freud , is trained by Bisnath Parboo.
Royal Tricon has been out seven times this year and sports one win, a triumph at Tampa Bay Downs at seven furlongs in March. The 4-year-old son of Trippi is looking for his first career stakes win.
Eight-year-old How's Your Halo is the oldest and the most experienced of the group. He has started 50 times and sports three stakes wins at Calder, the most recent one being in 2009. The son of Halo's Image ran second in the Smile Sprint in 2008 and third in 2010.
$350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. II, Race 11, 5:07 EDT),
3-year-olds and up, six furlongs (dirt).
Post Horse Jockey Weight Trainer
1. Giant Ryan C H Velasquez 119 B Parboo
2. Irrefutable M E Smith 115 B Baffert
3. Apriority L Saez 118 D Fawkes
4. Noble’s Promise M R Cruz 120 K G McPeek
5. Royal Tricon E O Nunez 113 J G Calascibetta
6. How’s Your Halo J C Leyva 115 B Prichard
7. This Ones for Phil J Castellano 116 R E Dutrow Jr.