01/08/2011 3:02PM

Kathmanblu tunes up for Sweetest Chant

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Early Kentucky Oaks favorite Kathmanblu will prep for the May 6 race in Saturday's Ashland at Keeneland.


Kathmanblu, considered among the leading 3-year-old filly prospects this season, worked five furlongs here at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, covering the distance in 100.80 in company with stablemate Hyperlink, breaking off a length behind and finishing on even terms before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.80. Jockey Julien Leparoux, Kathmanblu’s regular rider, was up for the drill.

Kathmanblu closed out her 2-year-old campaign with an easy victory in the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs. She had finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, beaten two lengths by More Than Real despite an unlucky trip, three weeks earlier.

Trainer Ken McPeek said he plans to kick off Kathmanblu’s 3-year-old campaign on the grass in the Sweetest Chant Stakes here on Jan. 22.

“I’ll keep her on the turf for now but she’s still my Oaks filly,” said McPeek. “I thought about bringing her back at the Fair Grounds in the Silverbulletday but the timing wasn’t good in regards to the shipping.”

McPeek said he also blew out Noble’s Promise a quarter-mile in 24 and change here on Saturday.

“He galloped out in :7 and one and went well,” said McPeek. “I don’t have anything set for him just yet. We’ll nominate him all around and just see. He may not run for a while.”

Noble’s Promise, third in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and fifth in last year’s Kentucky Derby, closed out his 3-year-old campaign finishing fifth as the 3-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita.

Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer was also on the Gulfstream tab on Saturday, going five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Diane Alvarado. Eldaafer could make his 2011 bow in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 5.