Noble's Promise , a banged-up fifth behind Line of David in the April 10 Arkansas Derby (gr. I) is doing better and will ship to Churchill Downs the morning of April 14 for a possible run at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) according to trainer Ken McPeek.
Following the race in Hot Springs the son of Cuvee—The Devil’s Trick, by Clever Trick, was shipped April 12 to McPeek’s Magdalena Farm near Lexington.
In the Arkansas Derby Noble's Promise broke a step slow under jockey Robby Albarado, then was squeezed back. Last as the field ran by the stands the first time, he was rushed up the rail into traffic. He rallied to get a forward position turning for home but ran out of steam down the stretch.
He sustained some cuts on his front legs during the race, but McPeek is encouraged by his progress, although Noble’s Promise is also being treated for a lung infection discovered after the race.
“At some point he got stepped on his first front and he got a cut on his coronet band,” said Kelly Colliver, one of the managing partners of Chasing Dreams Racing. “Some of the cuts were significant, but not as deep as we originally thought.”
On April 12, she thought Noble’s Promise’s Derby chances were 50-50.
The following day she and other members of the racing syndicate were "overspoiling him with mints" and giving him lots of attention at McPeeks farm.
"He's feeling well and he spend some time in the round pen today with the sunshine on his back," Colliver said. "He's healed up nicely."
A $10,000 purchase, Noble’s Promise races for Chasing Dreams Racing, a Central Kentucky-based partnership group with 24 owners. The partnership’s other managing partners are Ron Holmberg and Robert Brewster.
“He’s going to gallop Thursday after the break and we are intending on working on either on the 20th or 21st of the month,” McPeek said. “We’re going to need to work him and know that he’s good enough to work.
"He seems to be OK. We’ve got the cuts under control; I think they’re a short-term issue and relatively solved already. The lung infection that we were dealing with, it’s going to depend on how he responds to all that."
McPeek is not ready to say Noble’s Promise is “definite” for the Derby, but feels better about that possibility than he did a couple of days ago.
A winner of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at 2, he was also third in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and second behind Lookin At Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I). In his only other start at 3 he was second, beaten a head, in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes (gr. II) March 13.
He sports a 3-3-1 mark from eight starts. His $738,000 in graded earnings ranks him second among Derby contenders.