Noonmark, Mister Triester Top Derby Trial

Edited Churchill Downs report
The last of the traditional preps for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is unlikely to have an impact on next week's "Run for the Roses," but Saturday's $100,000-added Derby Trial at Churchill Downs will undoubtedly get the 132nd Spring Meet at historic Churchill Downs off to a rousing start.

George Bolton, Joan Corrigan and Antony Beck's Noonmark, a narrow loser to Kentucky Derby contender Sharp Humor in the Swale (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and B. Wayne Hughes' Mister Triester, runner-up to Derby contender Sweetnorthernsaint in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), head a field of nine entered in the 82nd running of the one-mile race for 3-year-olds.

The Derby Trial is the featured ninth event on a 10-race program that kicks off the 57-day spring meet.

Noonmark, a son of Unbridled's Song who has a 2-1-0 slate in four races, will attempt to give trainer Steve Asmussen his second victory in the Derby Trial. Asmussen, who leads U.S. trainers in total victories in 2006, won the race in 1996 with Ackerley Brothers Farm's Valid Expectations.

Asmussen's colt will be ridden by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan and is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite by Churchill Downs' oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

The Warren Stute-trained Mister Triester has only one win in eight races, but his effort in the Illinois Derby and a fourth-place run behind likely Kentucky Derby favorite Brother Derek in the Santa Catalina (gr. II) make him a force to respect in the Derby Trial.

Jockey Brice Blanc will ride Mister Triester, a son of Old Trieste who is the 3-1 second choice in Battaglia's morning line.

Other contenders in the Derby Trial include Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Dawn of War, winner of the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) last year at Keeneland; Alfred Kowalewski's R Loyal Man, winner of a pair of minor stakes at Tampa Bay Downs; and Kinsman Stable's Protagonus, a winner of two of three races for trainer Nick Zito.

Bob Yagos' Spotsgone is a 20-1 longshot for trainer William "Jinks" Fires that will be ridden by Fires' brother, Midwest riding legend Earlie Fires.

$100,000-added DERBY TRIAL
# Horse (weight), Jockey, ML Odds
1--R Loyal Man, 120, Jorge Chavez, 8-1
2--New Awakening, 116, Casey Chavez, 20-1
3--Smokeyjonessutton, 116, Mark Guidry, 20-1
4--Mister Triester, 116, Brice Blanc, 3-1
5--Protagonus, 116, John McKee, 6-1
6--Spotsgone, 116, Earlie Fires, 20-1
7--Record, 116, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1
8--Noonmark, 116, Shaun Bridgmohan, 2-1
9--Dawn of War, 122, Rene Douglas, 5-1
Morning Line Odds by Mike Battaglia