02/20/2010 12:00AM

Noble's Promise works toward Rebel

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Photos By Z/Keeneland
Noble's Promise, winner of the Breeders' Futurity, is likely to make his 3-year-old debut in the Rebel at Oaklawn Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - While many of the leading Kentucky Derby candidates stabled in south Florida ran here Saturday afternoon in the Hutcheson and Fountain of Youth, another member of that elite group, Noble's Promise, did his major work earlier that morning when he worked four furlongs in 48.40 seconds for trainer Ken McPeek.

Noble's Promise, the Breeders' Futurity winner who finished third, a half-length behind Vale of York after drawing clear in early stretch of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, has not started since closing out his 2-year-old campaign by finishing second in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity.

"He had been running all season, so I just gave him 30 days off to freshen him up," McPeek said. "He went a really sharp half here last week, so I wanted to tone it down this morning and just concentrate on the gallop out. Right now, the Rebel looks like where he'll run next. I want to go two turns with him the first time and preferably a mile and one sixteenth. I've got Robby Albarado lined up to ride."

McPeek said starting later than the majority of the other Derby hopefuls is not an issue for Noble's Promise.

"He's already got the money, so I don't need a stack of races," McPeek said. "All I need is a good race before the Derby. Two starts is plenty, and at the moment it's wide open where the second one would be. We've got plenty of options, Arkansas, the Illinois Derby, or the Blue Grass."

McPeek also worked his top 3-year-old filly prospect Beautician three furlongs in 36.88 seconds on Saturday.

"I did the same thing with her as Noble's Promise, except I gave her an extra week," McPeek said. "She's doing fantastic but she's kind of a delicate filly, so I have to go a little easier with her. She pulled the boy around there today. She could have gone two seconds faster. I pulled the trigger one too many times with her last year. I'll take the bullet for that."

Beautician, runner-up to the champion She Be Wild in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, stopped badly as the favorite in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet to conclude her 2-year-old campaign.

BC winner Tapitsfly injured

Tapitsfly, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November, had surgery this past week for an ankle chip and will be sidelined until later this year, trainer Dale Romans said at Gulfstream Park.

"We just did the surgery," Romans said. "It wasn't a big deal. She should be turned out about 60 to 90 days."

Tapitsfly has not raced since the Breeders' Cup.

Sassy Image drills for Davona Dale

Sassy Image, who scratched out of the Coconut Grove Stakes on Feb. 14 when the race remained on the grass, worked five furlongs in 1:01.50 here Saturday as her final prep for next Saturday's Grade 2 Davona Dale.

The one-mile Davona Dale is shaping up as a contentious race, with Amen Halleluhjah and Bickersons the leading contenders.

Saturday's tab at Gulfstream also included a couple of nominees for Sunday's Grade 2 Mac Diarmida, A.P. Ridge and Yate's Black Cat.

A.P. Ridge worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds immediately after the second renovation break, while Yate's Black Cat also breezed a half several minutes later in a more leisurely 49.60.

* Trainer Todd Pletcher said he is considering the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap for Battle Plan's next start. Battle Plan, an Overbrook Farm homebred by Empire Maker, posted his third straight easy victory when cruising to a five-length, second-level optional claiming tally going 1 1/8 miles here Thursday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman