06/27/2007 12:00AM

Noble Court resumes racing


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Noble Court was just starting to attract attention earlier this year when his winter campaign was cut short because of injury. Now the issue is whether he can be an important 3-year-old in the second half of the year.

Noble Court returns from a layoff of nearly five months in Friday's $75,000 Captain Squire Handicap at Hollywood Park. The six-furlong turf race marks his first start on grass, and his first out since winning the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes over a wet-fast track at Santa Anita on Feb. 11.

"I don't think surface will be an issue," said Larry Benavidez, assistant to trainer John Sadler.

Benavidez said that Noble Court suffered a bruised foot after the seven-furlong San Vicente. The race was Noble Court's fourth start. He has never been worse than third.

"He's training excellent," Benavidez said. "Now we have a fresh horse going into Del Mar."

Noble Court has worked quickly in recent weeks, with six-furlong bullet workouts on June 12 (1:12.60) and June 24 (1:11.60).

Noble Court tends to stalk the pace, which should be effective in the Captain Squire's small field.

Noble Court is the 121-pound highweight, spotting four rivals from four to five pounds. Owned by Joy Ride Racing, Noble Court is one of three entrants who won their last start.

Quintons Shocker won the Arizona Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes over six furlongs at Turf Paradise in October, his most recent start. Friday's race marks his first start for trainer Mike Mitchell and first start on turf. Quintons Shocker is expected to set the pace.

Luis's Especial won an allowance race over six furlongs on turf here on May 27, his second consecutive victory and third win in his last five starts. The other two wins came against claimers. The Captain Squire Handicap marks his stakes debut.

Luis's Especial is trained by Vladimir Cerin, who also starts Honored Image. Honored Image, stakes-placed at Calder last summer, makes his California debut and first start since July.

Zoning In has run third in three consecutive stakes - the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows in March, the Snow Chief Stakes here in April, and the Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 19. He was disqualified and placed sixth for causing interference in the Snow Chief.