One week after winning the Belmont Stakes with
Palace Malice, trainer Todd Pletcher was in the winner’s circle
following a stakes for 3-year-olds after Notacatbutallama captured the
Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince over
Park turf on Saturday.
Leaving from the outside post in the field of 12,
Notacatbutallama broke sharply before dropping back to race in seventh
along the backstretch. Following a half-mile
in 46.46 seconds set by Shining Copper, Notacatbutallama began to move
up along the inside on the turn, was angled outside by Hall of Fame
jockey John Velazquez at the quarter pole, took over with a furlong to
travel, and went on to defeat Play It Loud by
Notcatbutallama completed one mile in 1:34.82 and paid $11.80 as the 9-2 third choice.
“He broke well, then I had to get him back to drop inside,” said Velazquez, who won his 5,001st race in the
United States and
the Hill Prince. “Once I dropped in, I was comfortable where I was and
let him settle. He got to the turn, and I saw that horse [Play It Loud]
laying second. I liked that horse, I broke
his maiden in Florida, so when he started moving out, I moved out with him and made a nice run down the lane.”
Notacatbutallama won a pair of overnight stakes on the turf as a
2-year-old, taking the Incurable Optimist in October at Belmont and the
Super Mario in November at Aqueduct.
Following a pair of starts on dirt at Aqueduct – a second in the
Damon Runyon for New York-breds in December and a sixth in the Grade 2
Jerome in January – Notacatbutallama
returned to the grass in the James W. Murphy Stakes on May 18 at
Pimlico, making a mild rally on the outside to finish third.
“Johnny knows the horse really well,” said Pletcher, who trains the son of Harlan’s
Holiday for Mike Repole. “I just told
him that I thought he had been training much better since the Murphy. I
think he moved forward from the race. We were a little concerned with
the outside post, just trying to get some position,
and he was able to tuck in and save a little ground along the way.”
Notacatbutallama is 4-3-1 in 10 starts and has $308,334 in earnings, including $90,000 for his Hill Prince win.
Chamois edged favored Red Rifle to finish third. Sayaad,
Infinite Magic, Shining Copper, Michael With Us, Special Skills, Joha,
Bernie the Jet, and Red Rocker completed
the order of finish.