Martin Schwartz and Dell Ridge Farm’s Noble Tune, benefiting from a ground-saving trip under Javier Castellano, rocketed to the front in upper stretch and cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory over Admiral Kitten in the 22th running of the $234,200 American Turf presented by TwinSpires.com (Grade II) for 3-year-olds on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Chad Brown, Noble Tune covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:41.63. The victory in the race was the second for Castellano, who won the American Turf in 2005 with Rey de Café.
The victory was worth $136,492 and increased Noble Tune’s earnings to $473,622 with a record of 5-4-1-0. It was the second graded stakes victory for Noble Tune, who won the Pilgrim (GIII) last fall at Belmont Park prior to running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI).
Noble Tune is a Kentucky-bred son of Unbridled’s Song out of the Storm Cat mare Serena’s Cat.
Noble Tune returned $5, $3.40 and $2.80. Admiral Kitten, ridden by Mike Smith, returned $6.20 and $3.80 in finishing a half-length in front of War Dancer who returned $3.20 to show under Alan Garcia.
Completing the field in order were Joelito, Anyriderill Do, Channel Isle, Tenforthemoney, Positively, Bashaar, Fire Guard and Prado Cat.
AMERICAN TURF QUOTES
Javier Castellano, rider of Noble Tune, winner: “It was a beautiful trip. I was expecting to lay off the pace a little bit, but he was sharp today and he lay a little closer. On the backside, I saved all the ground. I waited for the best opportunity and turning for home, the rail opened up and he took it.”
Chad Brown, trainer of Noble Tune, winner: “We ran him at Tampa (allowance win on grass March 9) in order to get him ready for the Blue Grass (Stakes). But when we got him to Keeneland, he couldn’t handle the track. The owners were bummed, but I talked them into waiting for this race. I’m glad we did. I don’t want to run him anywhere but on the turf. No dirt. As long as he’s with me, he’ll stay on grass. Javier (Castellano) gave him an awesome ride. He’s patient. He rides a lot of horses like that for me.”
Mike Smith, rider of Admiral Kitten, second: “I had a great trip. No excuse. I just got outrun by a better horse today. The winner was bottled up for a little bit and thought I had a shot if he didn’t get through but then he made it through the inside.”
Alan Garcia, rider of War Dancer, third: “He was squeezed back early and never was able to really run his race. Last time he was very impressive but he lugged in here but hopefully next time it will be cleaner.”
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