(Nobals captures the William Garrett Memorial at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Friday / All Photos by Coady Photography)

From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Tammy Knox

Trainer Larry Rivelli didn’t know if Nobals would win the $100,000 William Garrett Memorial at Horseshoe Indianapolis. But he was confident that any rival would have to run down Patricia’s Hope LLC’s 4-year-old gelding to win.


Nobals went to the front. End of story. But he had to earn the victory, with the odds-on favorite under pressure early while rattling off fast fractions before prevailing by 1 1/4-lengths over the oncoming Charcoal. Millionaire Just Might loomed up in mid-stretch but weakened late to finish a neck back in third in the field of eight older horses. 


Ridden by E.T. Baird, Nobals covered the five-eighths of a mile over firm turf in 57.83 seconds after fractions of 21.73 and 46.63, the last eighth-mile going in 12.20. The Kentucky-bred son of Noble Mission paid $3.80, $3.00, and $2.40.


“It kind of went the way we thought it would unfold,” the Chicago-based Rivelli said by phone. “We just had to make sure we got out of harm’s ways. E.T. did a good job. He’s not really a fast, fast horse out of there. It takes him a couple of strides to get going. But you give him a breather — I don’t know who was riding the 9 (Eduardo Perez on fourth-place Shimmer Me Timbers) but they were riding us pretty good, shoving pretty good to keep up with us. I thought that might have softened us up a little bit, but he’s a pretty nice horse. He’s moving forward.”


Nobals hadn’t raced since taking Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at 38-1 odds on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Baird, who also rides the turf sprinter One Timer for Rivelli, was on Nobals for the first time.


“That’s Larry’s style (going to the lead),” he said, adding of Nobals, “On form, he looked like he was that type of horse. But from what he showed, and in the races he’s run good, he’s been on the lead. He’s a nice horse, definitely. He’s fast and he has enough speed to hold there, and he responded well and he hung in there.”


Sold for $3,500 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s fall yearling sale, Nobals won his debut at Presque Isle in 2021 and afterward was sold privately to Vince Foglia’s Patricia’s Hope LLC. The William Garrett was his eighth victory, with two seconds, in 15 starts, earning $783,274 while racing at 10 tracks. Nobals has won six stakes over turf and all-weather surfaces, including the historic Arlington-Washington Futurity held for the final time with Arlington Park’s closure.


“These races, these five, 5 1/2 turf sprints and he’s partial to the Polytrack as well — there’s a zillion $100,000, $200,000 races,” Rivelli said. “We’ll just try to scope out a good plan for him to get him to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint if we can. The thing is, we have two similar horses in that category, One Timer and him. So, we’ll obviously try to keep them away from each other and keep up the success we’re having with these sprinters.” 


Members of the William Garrett family were trackside to present the trophy for the third running of the event. James Garrett Jr. and his wife, Tonita, along with their son, James Garrett III, were trackside for the presentation. The race is named in honor of Shelbyville basketball legend William Garrett, who led the Shelbyville Golden Bears to a High School State Championship in 1947. Garrett went on to play at Indiana University as the first African American in the Big Ten. He later served in various capacities, from a coach and educator to a high school and college administrator before his death in 1974.


“We are honored to represent the family each year for this race,” said James Garrett Jr., nephew of William Garrett. “This is a very nice honor for our family, and we appreciate being included to remember Bill in this way.”


The 21st season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Friday, Nov. 17. Live racing is held Tuesday through Thursday with Saturday racing added in during the summer months. First post Tuesday and Wednesday is 2:30 p.m. Thursday racing begins at 2:10 p.m. The Summer Saturday Racing Series includes five all-Quarter Horse dates July 22, Aug. 12, Sept. 2, and Oct. 7 beginning at 10:45 a.m. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is set for 12:10 p.m. Saturday, July 8. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis.