11/14/2012 2:21PM

Churchill Downs: Noble’s Promise nearing career’s end in feature

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Barbara D. Livingston
Noble’s Promise is a graded stakes winner on synthetic and dirt, and he also has won on turf.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It had been a while between proverbial drinks for Noble’s Promise. The millionaire 5-year-old lost 11 straight races before finally getting back to the winner’s circle last month at Keeneland, and now he is looking to end his career on a modest winning streak.

Trainer Ken McPeek said a classified allowance Friday at Churchill Downs might be the final race in the outstanding career of Noble’s Promise, whose class and versatility have made him a threat in almost any spot. The Friday feature is a $58,000 turf race scheduled for a mile, and Noble’s Promise should figure right into the mix when he is part of an oversubscribed field.

“We thought about sending him to Louisiana or Penn National for a little stakes, but this is in our backyard, and he fits the conditions real well,” said McPeek. “This could be his last race, or he might have one more. Either way, obviously he’s been great to have around.”

Noble’s Promise is a graded stakes winner on synthetic and dirt, and he also has won in limited tries on turf. One of his more notable starts came some six weeks after he led to the top of the stretch in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. That was at the Royal Ascot meet in the Group  1 St. James’s Palace, a one-mile race in which Noble’s Promise finished a decent fifth.

“I think he showed in that race that he’s able to run on turf, too,” said McPeek.

Noble’s Promise will break from post 2 when he is ridden by David Cohen in the ninth of 10 Friday races. He will face a pretty solid opposing cast, with the 8-year-old veteran, Strike Impact, drawn right alongside in post 3 as one of his chief threats. Strike Impact, a $600,000-plus earner trained by Pat Dupuy, has been working bullets toward his return to action after having last raced in early August. Shaun Bridgmohan has the call.

Other prime considerations include Keep Up (post 1, Miguel Mena), a last-out winner on the Keeneland turf, and Eye of the Leopard (post  9, Joe Rocco Jr.), a $900,000-plus earner exiting the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

In all, 13 were entered, although only as many as 10 will run if the race stays on grass. Any of the three also-eligibles would figure prominently with a switch to dirt.

Typically, an inner rail is set up on the turf during weekdays, but because of problems last week with frost and residual moisture causing potential hazards on the course, Churchill officials said Wednesday that all turf races will be conducted against the hedge until further notice.

One other allowance (race 4) also is carded for Friday, when first post is the usual 12:40  p.m. Eastern.