JCM Racing Stable’s Noble’s Promise,
a Grade I stakes winner with more than $1 million in career earnings,
will face seven rivals on Saturday at Churchill Downs as he defends his
2011 victory in the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII), one of three stakes races to be run under the lights during the evening’s Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program.
The 24th running of the Aristides, a six-furlong race for
3-year-olds and up named in honor of the winner of the first Kentucky
Derby, will be co-featured with the ninth running of the $100,000-added
Winning Colors (GIII) and the 36th running of the
$100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII). The Aristides is
scheduled to go as Race 7 at 9:05 p.m. (ET).
The Ken McPeek-trained Noble’s Promise, a 5-year-old
son of Cuvee, recorded his second Churchill Downs stakes victory in
last year’s Aristides. His first stakes triumph beneath the Twin Spires
came in the Jimmy V “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up!” on Nov. 5, 2010.
Noble’s Promise notched the biggest win of his career as a 2-year-old
in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland and ended his juvenile
campaign with a third-place finish behind Vale of York-IRE and Lookin At Lucky
in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita and a runner-up
effort to Lookin At Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (GI) at Hollywood
Noble’s Promise began his 3-year-old campaign in a familiar spot with
another runner-up finish to Lookin At Lucky in the Rebel (GII) at
Oaklawn Park, and then ran fifth in the Arkansas Derby (GI). His next
start came in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), where he
was fifth to WinStar Farm’s Super Saver.
In between his race in the Run for the Roses and his victory that fall
in the Jimmy V, Noble’s Promise traveled to Britain’s famed Royal
Ascot, where he finished fifth in the St. James’s Palace (GI).
Overall, Noble’s Promise has a record of 5-3-3 from 20 lifetime
starts and earnings of $1,080,810. He will break from post four under Corey Lanerie, who won the 2003 Aristides aboard Mountain General. He will attempt to join Bet On Sunshine, who won the Aristides in 2000 and 2001, as the race’s only two-time winners.
Zayat Stables LLC’s Riley Tucker
will also seek a second Aristides victory on Saturday. The 7-year-old
son of Harlan’s Holiday won the event in 2010 and finished fifth last
tear. The Steve Asmussen-trained Riley Tucker, runner-up to Girolamo in the 2010 Vosburgh (GI) at Belmont Park, will break from post three under Miguel Mena.
Asmussen also trains Padua Stables’ Rothko, who will break from the rail under Corey Nakatani. Rothko, a 4-year-old bay son of Arch, finished second to The Factor
in the Malibu (GI) at Santa Anita in December prior to finishing fifth
to the same rival in the San Carlos (GII) in February. The seven-furlong
San Carlos has been the only start of 2012 for the Padua Stables
The field for the Aristides, from the rail out, is as follows: Rothko (ridden by Nakatani, 120 pounds), Global Power (Leandro Goncalves, 120), Riley Tucker (Mena, 120), Noble’s Promise (Lanerie, 120), Good Lord (Brian Hernandez Jr., 120), Will’s Wildcat (Calvin Borel, 120), Whiskey Rebellion (Crystal Carman, 116) and Cash Refund (Shaun Bridgmohan, 120).