Partners’ Derby Dreams Riding on Noble’s Promise
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Every morning at Barn 6 on the backside of Churchill Downs, a small group of people gather, rain or shine, to see about their horse.
It's a group of 25 partners, all Kentuckians, who feel they hit the jackpot just by getting to this year's Kentucky Derby.
"We're just being blessed," said Robert Brewster of Lexington, one of the owners of the partnership dubbed Chasing Dreams Stable. "It's luck, absolutely luck."
This group might not have been here if not for a tragic injury to a horse previously owned by some of the partners, Noble's Asset. That horse shattered a shoulder during a morning workout in late 2007 and had to be euthanized.
There was an insurance policy on Noble's Asset that paid out $60,000. Brewster and two other partners decided to use their share to buy another horse.
They came up with Noble's Promise, whom they bought as a weanling in hopes of selling him after he'd matured a bit. They named him as a tribute to Noble's Asset.
But the group never sold Noble's Promise, and other partners bought in along the way.
"I'd like to win it because it proves to the small guy it's possible," said Ron Holmberg of LaGrange, one of the managing partners. "I just want somebody who knows CPR by me."
The partners have spent mornings on the backside watching their horse and soaking up the atmosphere. They went to the post-position draw, anxious for their horse but flashing thumbs up as they left, saying they were happy with post 3 for Noble's Promise, who is 12-1 in the morning line.
They wear hats and buttons sporting the colt's name and are still trying to find Derby tickets for all of the partners. But mostly they are enjoying just making it to the Derby, win or lose.
"It was a dream," Brewster said. "It was a dream for a lot of us."
Ken Ledford of Richmond said he's completely awestruck at having a share of a Derby horse. He initially bought into the partnership in hopes that he might make a little money to help pay for his daughter's education.
"I had no idea," he said of the potential for having a Derby horse. "It's a blessing. It's a really wonderful thing for everybody."
Noble's Promise, a son of Cuvee, comes into the race with the second-most graded-stakes earnings, $738,000. He finished second to Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky in the Rebel but then was a disappointing fifth as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby, coming out of it with cuts and nicks and a lung infection.
The owners and trainer Kenny McPeek say all signs of the lung infection are gone. They decided to enter the colt in the Derby after watching him breeze four furlongs in 48 4/5 seconds in his final workout Monday.
McPeek said he likes his chances.
"He's battle-tested," the trainer said. "He's raced against top company. Hopefully, our bad luck's out of the way."