Noble Tune rocketed to the front in upper stretch and cruised to a 1 3/4-length victory in the $234,200 American Turf (G2) Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song has won four of five lifetime starts and is emerging as the top sophomore grass star in the country.
Noble Tune's win pushed Unbridled’s Song past the $2.6 million mark in progeny earnings this year and gave him his third graded stakes winner of 2013. The top-10 stallion will be represented in Saturday's $2 million Kentucky Derby by Grade 2 Rebel S. winner Will Take Charge.
Noble Tune was in hand early under Javier Castellano, settling in fourth about two lengths off the lead entering the backstretch. Going three wide around the turn, Castellano found an opening along the inside straightening for home, and Noble Tune immediately shot through to win going away.
Trained by Chad Brown, Noble Tune covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:41.63.
“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,” said Castellano. “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.”
“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. 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 gave him an awesome ride. He’s patient. He rides a lot of horses like that for me.”
The victory was worth $136,492 and increased Noble Tune’s earnings to $473,622. It was the second graded stakes victory for the dark bay colt, who won the Pilgrim (G3) last fall at Belmont Park prior to running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Noble Tune is a Kentucky-bred out of the Storm Cat mare Serena’s Cat. He is owned by Martin S. Schwartz and Dell Ridge Farm LLC (the latter also his breeder).