02/11/2007 12:00AM

Noble Court captures San Vicente


ARCADIA, Calif. - Absent one shoe, and struggling to get a good grip over a slick surface, Noble Court showed some fancy footwork to hold off Law Breaker to capture the Grade 2, $150,000 San Vicente Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday at Santa Anita.

Noble Court ($3.60) knifed between horses on the turn and grabbed the lead entering the stretch, but was fully extended to hold off Law Breaker and win by a neck in 1:23.12 for seven furlongs over a track labeled wet-fast. Half Famous was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third in the five-horse field.

Hurry Up Austin was scratched at the gate. According to Dr. Steve Buttgenbach, the track veterinarian, Hurry Up Austin twisted his left rear shoe, and subsequently suffered superficial cuts on the back of both front legs.

Noble Court came back from the race absent his left front shoe, which amplified jockey Corey Nakatani’s belief that the colt “was slipping” on the surface.

“I thought he’d run a little better,” said trainer John Sadler, who said he was “mollified” that Noble Court was able to fight through the surface absent a shoe and prevail.

Sadler said Noble Court would go around two turns in his next race, most likely in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 17.

Sadler trains Noble Court, a son of Doneraile Court, for Joy Ride Racing, a partnership headed by local resident Chris Atkinson, who lives just furlongs from the track.

Noble Court has now won twice in four starts. He was third in his only previous stakes try, last month’s San Miguel Stakes.