Noble Bird unchallenged in Fayette, breaks track record

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

October 29th, 2016

Trainer Mark Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux put a bow on their respective Keeneland fall titles Saturday by teaming up to win the $200,000 Fayette (G2) with Noble Bird, who strolled around the track unchallenged to win the 1 1/8-mile test for older horses in track record time of 1:47.75.

The even-money favorite in a field of eight, Noble Bird set quick splits of :23.53, :46.70, and 1:10.53, and had plenty left to withstand a futile bid from Divining Rod, last seen at Keeneland winning the 2015 Lexington (G3).

Owned by John Oxley, Noble Bird crossed the wire 5 3/4 lengths in front and paid $4 in breaking the old track mark of 1:47.90 set in last year's Fayette by Race Day. Divining Rod was another 5 3/4 lengths clear of Hawaakom.

This was the third stakes win on the year for the Grade 1 veteran, who captured the Pimlico Special (G3) in May and the Lukas Classic last out at Churchill Downs. However, the five-year-old son of Birdstone has struggled in several other tries this term when facing pace pressure, finishing off the board in the Alysheba (G2), Metropolitan H. (G1), and Whitney (G1).

"We have to find races where he can dictate things," assistant trainer Norman Casse explained. "The Clark H. (G1) is the goal (at Churchill Downs on November 25).

In addition to the Lukas Classic, Noble Bird has found other nine-furlong success under the Twin Spires in the 2015 Stephen Foster H. (G1). His record now stands at 19-7-4-0, $1,064,945.

Bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain, Noble Bird was reared by the unraced Tiznow mare Anyhow, who is also the dam of Puerto Rico stakes winner Brother Pat and the Grade 3-placed Dido.

(Coady Potography)