06/01/2010 11:00PM

Noble Lad needs to regain his best

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - If Noble Lad runs to the potential he displayed when he won a maiden race at Laurel in January last year, he will be tough to handle in the feature race at Hastings Friday. The 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up attracted nine horses and goes as the seventh race.

A 5-year-old gelding by Officer, Noble Lad has had his share of physical problems and has started only five times. According to Noble Lad's trainer, Frank Barroby, he is feeling fine right now.

"He's been working very well and my only concern is that he might need a race," said Barroby. "If he holds together he could be any kind."

Noble Lad looked like he was going to be a good one when he won a six-furlong maiden special weight race at Laurel by more than seven lengths with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. In two subsequent races in 2009 he finished third to Elusive Gift in a $35,000 optional sprint at Aqueduct and then third in a $25,000 optional sprint for trainer Dino Condilenios at Hastings in August.

Noble Lad was originally part of a package of horses bought by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc. from Darley Stable. Darley paid $1.4 million for Noble Lad at the Barretts 2-year-old in training sale in 2007. He was sold by Swift to local veterinarian Dr. Ed Weibe and moved to Barroby's barn last fall.

"Swift is loaded with good older horses, and we were happy to get him," said Barroby. "Ed operated on him before he ran here, so we knew what we were getting into. He looks like a real nice horse and I wouldn't mind owning him myself."

Amadeo Perez rides Noble Lad.

Trainer Troy Taylor has entered Prince Intent and Cherokee Notion but said he was probably going to scratch Cherokee Notion.

A 3-year-old, Prince Intent is undefeated in two starts and will be facing older horses for the first time. He won by a neck when he made his debut in a $20,000 maiden race on April 25 and then took a big step forward when he easily handled Ladner Lad in a $25,000 claiming race going 6 1/2 furlongs May 16.

Charterhill will be adding blinkers following a third-place finish behind Silly Fella in a $50,000 optional race May 8. If his bullet five-furlong work in 58.80 seconds May 22 is any indication, he could be sitting on a big race.