10/06/2012 3:27PM

Belmont Park: Noble Tune faces challenge in Pilgrim

Tom Keyser
Noble Tune, with Ramon Dominguez riding, wins his racing debut at Saratoga.

ELMONT, N.Y. – As far as trainer Chad Brown was concerned, Noble Tune hit all the right notes when he won his debut on closing day at Saratoga.

Obviously, the victory was nice, but the fact Noble Tune won without earning an off-the-charts speed figure was just as good, Brown said.

“I don’t want a number that’s too fast first time out. That was something my mentor taught me,” said Brown, referring to his former boss, the Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. “He did it the right way. Visually his race was good, but it wasn’t spectacular. It gave me room for improvement, which this horse has.”

Noble Tune, a son of Unbridled’s Song owned by Martin Schwartz and Dell Ridge Farm, will likely have to take a step forward in order to win Monday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park. The Pilgrim, rescheduled to Monday from Sunday because of a fear of inclement weather, is run at 1 1/16 miles over the inner turf. The winner earns an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Since his debut win, Noble Tune has worked twice over a less-than-firm inner turf course, and Brown felt the horse handled the off going adequately.

“I’m expecting him to run well. How he’ll run on yielding turf I’m not sure,” Brown said. “He has a breeze over it and looked okay over it.”

Brown also entered the maiden Saint Vigeur, who finished second in his debut at Saratoga. Brown said he did not think his horse was mentally prepared to run as well as he did first time out and believes the horse could take “two steps forward” in the Pilgrim.

“He did that on talent alone. I don’t think he was a horse I had super-ready to run at Saratoga,” Brown said. “He came out of the race great, he’s trained more professionally, showing his maturity.”

West Hills Giant, a New York-bred son of Frost Giant, won a statebred maiden race on turf at Saratoga, then came back and won the six-furlong New York Breeders Futurity on dirt at Finger Lakes.

Though he would be coming back on nine days’ rest, trainer John Terranova appears willing to take a shot.

“Looks like the race took nothing out of him,” Terranova said. “He looks great. I wouldn’t have put him in otherwise. I just think he’s a nice horse. He’s versatile, he’s got a little class, and he’s still very immature.”

Notacatbutallama, trained by Todd Pletcher, won a maiden race at Saratoga by 6 1/2 lengths in his second start. He finished fourth, beaten three lengths by Balance the Books, in the With Anticipation Stakes also at Saratoga. Balance the Books was scheduled to run in Sunday’s Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland.

Quinzieme Monarque rallied from 10th to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race over the Belmont turf course Sept. 15 in his first time going long.

Cierro, a debut winner in Italy; Special Skills, winner of the Nick Shuk Memorial at Delaware; and Read the Proposal, winner of a New York-bred off-the-turf race at Saratoga in August; complete the field.