05/29/2013 4:08PM

Penn National: Noble Tune, Rydilluc among eight 3-year-olds in Penn Mile

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Tom Keyser
Noble Tune comes into the $500,000 Penhn Mile off a win in the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The Penn Mile has no history – this is the first year of its existence – but it has plenty of money behind it, and the new $500,000 turf race for 3-year-olds drew a strong field when Saturday’s Penn National card was assembled Wednesday.

The 3-year-old turf division doesn’t really begin to come together until the Triple Crown trail comes to an end, but with Noble Tune, Rydilluc, Jack Milton, and Charming Kitten entered, the Penn Mile is the best grass race for 3-year-olds run so far this year. The other four in the race are Pitch N Roll, Yougotthatgoinforu, Are You Kidding Me, and Triple Cross.

The Penn Mile is one of three open stakes on the card, forming with the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup and the $250,000 Mountainview Handicap the richest night of racing at Penn National, which is located just north of Harrisburg in south-central Pennsylvania. The Governor’s Cup, race 2, starts the open stakes sequence, followed immediately by the Mountainview and the Penn Mile. Scheduled post time for the Governor’s Cup is 6:28 p.m. Eastern, with the Penn Mile scheduled to be run at 7:26.

[PENN MILE: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

With eight runners, the Penn Mile should not have post position as a deciding factor: During the 2012 turf season at Penn National, winners in one-mile turf races were distributed fairly evenly from inside to outside. Post 5 produced the most winners, six in 26 races, and that is the spot occupied by longshot Triple Cross. The favorites, who all ship in from New York, drew post 1 (Noble Tune, Javier Castellano), post 6 (Jack Milton, John Velazquez), post  7 (Rydilluc, Edgar Prado), and post 8 (Charming Kitten, Joel Rosario).

Noble Tune, trained by Chad Brown, has won 4 of 5 starts and in his lone loss finished second to George Vancouver in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Noble Tune has started his season with a pair of wins, the most recent in the Grade 2 American Turf on May 3 at Churchill.

Rydilluc, trained by Gary Contessa, is 3 for 3 on grass, his two losses having come in his debut on dirt last year, and in the Blue Grass Stakes on Keeneland’s Polytrack, where he finished fourth. Rydilluc beat Charming Kitten by three lengths in the Palm Beach Stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park, but Charming Kitten, trained by Mike Maker, finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of him in the Blue Grass.

Jack Milton has done little wrong in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, winning his debut, finishing a close second in his second start, and most recently capturing the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes on Keeneland’s grass course.

The Governor’s Cup, a five-furlong turf sprint, has as much firepower as the Penn Mile, with Ben’s Cat, Chamberlain Bridge, Bridgetown, and Icon Ike among the 11 entrants. Ben’s Cat, who won the Turf Sprint on Preakness Day at Pimlico, drew poorly in post 11. The 9-year-old Chamberlain Bridge won the 2010 edition of the Governor’s Cup.

The Mountainview, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, attracted a solid field of eight, headed by Easter Gift, Macho Macho, Pants On Fire, and Rattlesnake Bridge.