Trainer Chad Brown brought 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) runner-up Noble Tune to Kentucky this spring to potentially run him in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). But the sophomore son of Unbridled's Song didn't appear to handle the Polytrack surface of the Lexington oval, so plan 'B' became the race Noble Tune will tackle this weekend—the $200,000 American Turf (gr. IIT).
Martin Schwartz and Dell Ridge Farm's talented bay colt, who has three wins and that second in grade I company on his record, is one of 13 entered in the 1 1/16-mile American Turf, scheduled to be run at 4:44 p.m. EDT on May 3 as the race immediately preceeding the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
"He's doing super," Brown said. "We got a prep in the horse at Tampa and were going to run him in the Blue Grass, and I took him to Keeneland and I just didn't feel he was handling the synthetic track. I was very disappointed with how he was breezing over it. So rather than run him over a track we felt pretty confident in his morning drills he wouldn't handle, we just scrapped that plan and then started focusing on the American Turf. We couldn't be happier with how he's settled in at Churchill, and look forward to running him."
"He ran super in the Breeders' Cup, obviously got beat by a good horse there in George Vancouver," Brown said. "I was proud of the way he ran. He came out of that race and we took him down to Palm Meadows and really freshened him up this winter and pointed him towards his 3-year-old campaign."
Noble Tune drew post 4 and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Others with graded stakes experience in the field include Calumet Farm's Channel Isle, a son of English Channel , who comes off an eighth in the Blue Grass April 13 following a seventh in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III), and a fourth in the Southwest (gr. III). The D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt broke his maiden going 1 1/8 miles on the Churchill lawn last November, winning by half a length over Prado Cat, who will also run in the American Turf.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey have Redwood Kitten, third in the Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 5, and Admiral Kitten, who was second by a nose there in an April 10 turf allowance going 1 1/16 miles. Both are to be saddled by trainer Mike Maker.
Positively, runner-up to War Dancer in a turf allowance at the same distance, also at Keeneland on the same day, will come back for trainer Pat Byrne along with the one that beat him, who races for Ken McPeek.
$200,000 American Turf (gr. IIT, Race 9, approximate post 4:44 p.m. EDT), 3YOs, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Anyriderill Do, M. Mena, R. Werner
2. Bashaar, J. Johnson, D. Peitz
3. Channel Isle, J. Rocco, Jr., D.W. Lukas
4. Noble Tune, J. Castellano, C. Brown
5. War Dancer, A. Garcia, K. McPeek
6. Positively, R. Napravnik, P. Byrne
7. I'll Call, E. Prado, H.G. Motion
8. Tenforthemoney, C. Lanerie, D. Romans
9. Admiral Kitten, M. Smith, M. Maker
10. Fire Guard,J. Alvarado, W. Mott
11. Joelito, J. Rosario, J. Sadler
12. Redwoodkitten, E. Trujillo, W. Ward
13. Prado Cat, G. Stevens, D. Romans