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Horseman Dan Noble off to good start this year

March 06, 2018
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Dan Noble is feeling good this year and it is leading to good results. The 35-year-old Ohio resident is No. 10 nationally in wins, with 69, and trails only Trace Tetrick in victories in the driver standings at Miami Valley Raceway.

Last year at this time, Noble had just 28 wins and finished the Miami Valley meet, which concludes in May, with 83. He was hampered by health issues, including a bad back, and sat out nearly all of January. Nonetheless, Noble finished 2017 with 401 wins, which tied for 15th in North America, and a career-best $4.11 million in purses.

"I thought my season was good, but it could have been better," Noble said. "I didn’t drive for most of the winter. Things got so bad I was having trouble walking. I just took time off and did physical therapy, a lot of physical therapy. But it was a good year considering everything I went through."

Noble, who entered Tuesday needing 20 wins to reach 5,000 for his career, also has learned to balance the demands of training his own stable with the demands of catch driving on a daily basis. He started training horses with his father, Ohio Hall of Fame horseman Sam "Chip" Noble III, and decided to continue with a stable after his dad passed away at the age of 60 in January 2014. His fiancée, Christi, assists with stable management.

"When I lost my dad, it took me a few years to get over it," Noble said. "I was a little overwhelmed and wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I was still driving good, but I don’t know if my performance was at its peak. I had to make a lot of adjustments that I wasn’t ready for.

"I never dreamed I would wind up training my own stable. I loved training with my father, so I decided I would try to carry on the family name and have my own stable. At first it was tough, but I’m enjoying it."

Noble, the sport’s leading driver in 2011 when he won a career-best 773 races, was training more than three dozen horses at times in the past, but is now at 16. The majority of his stable is 2- and 3-year-olds preparing for this year.

"I think I’ve got some horses that should be very competitive here in Ohio," Noble said. "But you never know until you get them behind the gate."

As far as driving highlights last year, Noble won two Ohio Sire Stakes championships, with 3-year-old male pacer Drunk On Your Love and 2-year-old female pacer Bad Girls Rule, and also enjoyed success on the circuit with 3-year-old female trotter Gabbysloosechange and 2-year-old male pacer Rockathon.

And Drunk On Your Love did more than provide Noble with a championship. He helped Noble receive a trip to Ireland for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend. The gelding, owned by Mark Ford and Jason Settlemoir’s Living The Dream Racing, is a son of Foreclosure N, who is owned by Delaney Memorial co-founder James Delaney.

"It was quite a privilege to go," Noble said. "I drove for two days over there and I ended up breaking the track record over there for a mile and a quarter. It was quite a time; I’d love to go back. I enjoyed it tremendously."

Right now, though, Noble is enjoying being healthy and focused on the remainder of 2018.

"I’ve started off on a better foot this year than I did last year," Noble said. "I want to travel as much as I can this year and I’ll probably hit a lot more fairs this year, like I used to. It’s looking pretty promising." (USTA)

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