John C. Oxley’s Grade 1 winner Noble Bird, who won the Oct. 1 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs in his last start, is the 123-pound highweight in the 59th running of the $ 200,000 Hagyard Fayette (G2) on Saturday, closing day of Keeneland‘s 2016 Fall Meet.
The 1 1/8-mile Hagyard Fayette will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time.
Trained by Mark Casse, Noble Bird is a 5-year-old son of Birdstone who has won six races in 18 starts, including the 2015 Stephen Foster (G1) at Churchill, and earned $ 944,945. In April during Keeneland’s Spring Meet, he was second to Eagle in the 1 1/8-mile Ben Ali (G3). Two races later, Noble Bird won the Pimlico Special (G3) at 1 3/16 miles.
In the 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic, Noble Bird finished 1½ lengths in front of Hagyard Fayette rival Hawaakom, who in August captured the 1 1/16-mile West Virginia Governor’s at Mountaineer.
The Hagyard Fayette will mark the North American return of Zayat Stables’ Prayer for Relief, who has not raced since March 2016 at Meydan in Dubai. An earner of $ 2,016,948, the 8-year-old by Jump Start had made six consecutive starts at Meydan beginning in March 2015 with his best finish a third in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1.
The field for Saturday’s Hagyard Fayette with riders and weights from the inside is: Hawaakom (Miguel Mena, 121 pounds), Noble Bird (Leparoux, 123), Kasaqui (ARG), (Robby Albarado, 121), Mr. Z (James Graham, 121), Chocopologie (Colby Hernandez, 121), Prayer for Relief (Corey Lanerie, 121), Iron Fist (Ricardo Santana Jr., 121) and 2015 Coolmore Lexington (G3) winner Divining Rod (Florent Geroux, 121).
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