Friday, August 9, 2013
Notacatbutallama grinds out HOF win
By Jack Shinar
Notacatbutallama, given plenty of rallying room along the inside, outfought North Slope to capture the off-the-turf National Museum Racing Hall of Fame Stakes on a sloppy main track Aug. 9 at Saratoga Race Course.
With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, Notacatbutallama earned his third consecutive stakes win and the second graded victory of his career. He was one of three sophomores trained by Todd Pletcher in the field of five 3-year-olds. Repole Stables owns the winning New York-bred son of Harlan's Holiday.
With the $196,000 race taken off the turf, it is automatically reduced to a Grade 3 pending a final review by the American Grades Stakes Committee. The race was originally scheduled for 1 1/16 miles but was instead contested at 1 ⅛ miles. Rydilluc and Balance the Books were scratched.
Notacatbutallama was timed in 1:52.29 over trying conditions. North Slope held on for second, three-quarters of a length behind the winner, with Battier, entered for the main track only by Pletcher, another 1 ½ lengths back in third. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's coupled entry of Charming Kitten, the third Pletcher trainee, and Get in Line, trailed the field after being bet to 11-10 favoritism.
"He was in good position and when the rail came open, he came up the fence," said Pletcher, who previously won the Hall of Fame Stakes with Interactif in 2010. "I had a feeling he was turning into a top-class turf horse, and you hate to change surfaces. At least we know now in this situation what he can do."
Get in Line showed the way, carving quarter mile fractions of :24.92, :49.90, and 1:14.52 while pursued by North Slope and Notacatbutallama, who raced a bit off the rail but on the inside of the leaders. North Slope, wide throughout with Luis Saez riding, made his move on the outside rounding the turn to take the advantage into the stretch as Notacatbutallama also progressed.
North Slope was racing well off the rail while a length in front through the stretch, giving Velazquez plenty of room to send Notacatbutallama through. They drew even approaching the sixteenth pole and Notacatbutallama ground out the rest of the trip under right-handed urging from Velazquez.
"It took me a little bit to get him going again, from the three-sixteenths pole to the wire, but he got it done," said Velazquez. "He runs every single time, no matter what. He loves to run, loves to compete."
Happy Hill Farm bred the winner out of the winning stakes-placed Hansel mare Self Rising. Notacatbutallama was sold to Mike Repole through Jonathan Thomas, agent, for $105,000 as a 2-year-old in April 2012 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company. The bay colt was sold by De Meric Sales, agent, whose Nick De Meric paid $50,000 for Notacatbutallama at the Fasig-Tipton New York preferred New York-bred sale as a yearling.
Notacatbutallama won the one-mile Hill Prince Stakes over a good turf June 15 at Belmont Park. He returned to capture the Solar Splendor at 1 1/16 miles on the inner Belmont turf course July 13 in his most recent start. He had one prior race on a sloppy track, finishing second in the one-mile Damon Runyon for New York-breds last December at Aqueduct Racetrack.
He broke his maiden in his second outing over the Saratoga lawn last Aug. 20. Notacatbutallama has now won six of 12 starts with three seconds and a third while earning $488,334.
Notacatbutallama paid $7.70 and $3.50 as the second choice in the small field while carrying the top impost of 122 pounds. Darley Stable's North Slope, seeking his first stakes win for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, returned $4.60 and rounded out a $33 exacta. There was no show wagering.