Noble's Promise, among the favorites for Saturday's Arkansas Derby and one of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, is being considered for the Epsom Derby by trainer Ken McPeek and owners Chasing Dreams Racing 2008. The Cuvee colt was one of eight late nominees at 8,000 pounds ($12,175) to the $1.9 million, 1 1/2-mile turf classic on June 5, the same day as the Belmont Stakes.
Noble's Promise has run well on the synthetic surfaces at Keeneland, Santa Anita and Hollywood and won his maiden on turf, albeit at 5 1/2 furlongs, at Ellis Park in his second career start on Sept. 5.
"It depends on how he gets on in his next couple of starts," McPeek said of Noble's Promise's chances of actually winding up at Epsom, "but we wanted the option of running him in the Epsom Derby."
McPeek sent Hard Buck to England in 2004 to run second in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
"I walked the course at Epsom when Hard Buck came over to England in 2004, and I think this horse will like the course," McPeek said. "There is a slight question of whether he will get the mile and a half, but he has a high cruising speed and I think you need a colt who travels handy to win the Epsom Derby, rather than a galloping type.
"If Noble's Promise were to skip the Preakness, then I would be more inclined to run him at Epsom than the Belmont Stakes. He is by far the best of my 3-year-olds and ran well against Vale of York in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, so we have a fair chance of where he stands in relation to the good European colts."
The last American-trained horse to run in the Epsom Derby was the Michael Dickinson-trained Wolf Prince, who finished eighth behind Commander In Chief in 1993. In 1983, the Sid Watters's trained Slewpy was 18th behind Teenoso.
Noble's Promise is the only American trainee nominated to this year's renewal, for which the Aidan O'Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey is the 7-4 favorite with William Hill.