03/09/2013 3:37PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Noble Tune wins in return, headed to Blue Grass Stakes


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Grade 1-placed Noble Tune is headed to the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland following an impressive comeback win Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.

Runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf his most recent start Nov. 3 at Santa Anita, Noble Tune and jockey John Velazquez rallied from the back of the field to win the $30,000 one-mile turf allowance by a nose and give Velazquez his third win from his first three mounts Saturday at Tampa. Velazquez was scheduled to ride Tampa Bay Derby favorite Verrazano later Saturday.

Trainer Chad Brown said after the allowance win that Noble Tune would make his next start in the April 13 Blue Grass at Keeneland. “The timing is good for the Blue Grass,” Brown said, adding that Noble Tune would ship to Keeneland about two weeks before the race.

Noble Tune has never trained on a synthetic surface, but Brown plans for the colt to post at least one workout over the Keeneland synthetic.

Brown did not commit Noble Tune to any race after the Blue Grass, although majority owner Martin Schwartz said “I buy mostly fillies, and don’t get many chances” at the Kentucky Derby. A big Blue Grass effort by Noble Tune would make him a Derby contender. “They say grass horses run well at Churchill Downs,” Schwartz said.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Schwartz purchased a three-quarter interest in Noble Tune from breeder Dell Ridge Farm after his maiden win on Sept. 3 at Saratoga. Noble Tune subsequently won the Grade 3 Pilgrim at Belmont, and then finished second in the Breeders’ Cup. His allowance win Saturday was his third from four starts.

Noble Tune returned $3 for the nose win in 1:35.05 over a firm course.

Are You Kidding Me finished second.