Noble Bird breezes for Suburban; Catch a Glimpse, Airoforce headed to Belmont Oaks, Derby
Edited Press Release
John C. Oxley’s Grade 1-winning Noble Bird, sixth in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park last out on June 11, will return to that New York oval on July 9 for the $500,000 Suburban Handicap (G1) following a half-mile drill in :49.40 over the fast Churchill Downs main track on Saturday morning.
“He worked real well this weekend and we like the timing of the race,” said Norman Casse, trainer Mark Casse’s son and assistant. “He already has a race over that track.”
Casse reflected on the Birdstone five-year-old’s most recent outing in the Met Mile.
“We ended up being on the rail and we kind of felt that we had to really send him away from the gate,” Casse explained. “He’s just a really tricky and quirky horse, everything’s kind of got to go his way and I don’t think he was comfortable that day.
“He’ll get to go a mile-and-a-quarter in the Suburban. He’ll be comfortable and he’ll get to be on some high cruising speed which is the best thing for him.”
Casse also plans to send Catch a Glimpse and Airoforce, who finished one-two in the June 4 Penn Mile (G3), to Belmont Park where they’ll run in the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) and $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational (G1), respectively, on the Suburban undercard.
Catch a Glimpse is unbeaten on the turf in seven starts, including a win in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), and was honored with a trio of Sovereign Awards as Canada’s Horse of the Year, champion turf female and champion two-year-old filly. The City Zip sophomore put in a five-furlong move over the fast Keeneland main track Saturday in :59 to ready for the Belmont Oaks.
Airoforce just missed in by a neck in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last November at Keeneland but closed out his two-year-old campaign with a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) on Churchill Downs’ main track. The gray son of Colonel John, who was unplaced in three starts this season before taking on his stablemate in the Penn Mile last out, breezed five-eighths Saturday under the Twin Spires in 1:00.80.
“She’s been preparing over at Keeneland,” Casse said of Catch a Glimpse. “We have her over there since she really likes it there and it’s a little more quiet and laid back.”
Catch a Glimpse photo courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography