03/10/2010 12:00AM

Noble's Promise should shine on dirt


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Noble's Promise has raced exclusively on synthetic and turf surfaces to this point in his career, but there are reasons to believe that the Grade 1 winner might be an even better horse on dirt. More will be learned Saturday, when Noble's Promise runs in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The 1 1/16-mile race will be the dirt debut for Noble's Promise, who is one of three Grade 1 winners in a projected field of seven. The others are Lookin At Lucky, the champion 2-year-old of 2009, and Dublin, who last year took the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga.

Noble's Promise invades from Gulfstream Park, where he has been working up a storm for his first start since finishing a close second to Lookin At Lucky in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park on Dec. 19. The Rebel became Noble Promise's target for a couple of reasons, trainer Ken McPeek said.

"I wanted to get a two-turn dirt race under his belt," McPeek said. "I had a choice between Tampa or Arkansas. I think just having stabled at Oaklawn years back, I felt that the horse would like the track. I also thought the timing was good."

McPeek is looking forward to running Noble's Promise, a son of Cuvee, on dirt.

"He's bred for dirt top and bottom," he said. "He's been training over it all his life, and every time you put him out there on dirt, he has a fast work."

Last month at Gulfstream, for example, Noble's Promise worked a bullet four furlongs in 46.40 seconds around the dogs. He has won 3 of 6 starts, taking a maiden special weight on turf last fall before winning the $100,000 Juvenile at Presque Isle Downs on Sept. 26 and the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 10. From there, Noble's Promise was third by a half-length in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile before closing out his season in the CashCall. Robby Albarado will ride him for the first time Saturday.

McPeek said he last had a stable at Oaklawn in 1992.

"The racing fans in Hot Springs are the best in the world," he said. "I love that."

The Rebel field also could include Cardiff Giant, the third-place finisher in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn; Uh Oh Bango, the runner-up to Rule last out in the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs; Pleasant Storm, the runner-up in the $100,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn; and Crider, who was fifth last out in the Southwest.