06/15/2013 5:11PM

Belmont Park: Pletcher, Velazquez strike in Hill Prince with Notacatbutallama

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Joe Labozzeta/NYRA
Notacatbutallama, ridden by John Velazquez, outfinishes Play It Loud to win the Grade 3 Hill Prince by a neck on Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher’s 3-year-olds are pretty good on turf, too.

One week after winning the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes with Palace Malice and the Grade 2 Woody Stephens with Forty Tales, Pletcher captured the Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park with Notacatbutallama, who worked an outside-inside-outside trip and outfinished longshot Play It Loud to win by a neck.

It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Chamois in third. He was followed by the Pletcher-trained Red Rifle - the 5-2 favorite - Sayaad, Infinite Magic, Shining Copper, Michael With Us, Special Skills, Joha, Bernie the Jet, and Red Rocker.

The win was the fourth from 10 career starts for Notacatbutallama, his first in a graded race. Notacatbutallama, a New York-bred son of Harlan’s Holiday, is owned by Mike Repole. He was ridden by John Velazquez, who on Friday got his 5,000th career victory on the Repole-owned and Pletcher-trained Galloping Giraffe.

“Mike Repole is going to announce next week that he’s opening a zoo,” Pletcher joked in the winner’s circle afterward.

Notacatbutallama received a textbook ride from Velazquez, who, after breaking from post 12 was able to maneuver the horse to the two path down the backside.

Shining Copper, under Alex Solis, opened up a three-length advantage through a quarter run in 23.21 seconds and a half-mile in 46.46. Around the far turn, Velazquez scooted Notacatbutallama into contention along the inside, then tipped five wide in the stretch, following a similar inside-outside move by Play It Loud, under Cornelio Velasquez.

Notacatbutallama rallied outside of Play It Loud above the eighth pole and outkicked that stubborn foe to the wire to record the win.

Notacatbutallama covered the mile over a Widener turf course labeled good in 1:34.82 and returned $11.80 as the 9-2 third choice.

“He broke well, then I had to get him back to drop inside,” Velazquez said. “Once I dropped in, I was comfortable where I was and let him settle.”

Velazquez said he followed Play It Loud because he knew that horse from when he won a maiden race on him at Gulfstream.

“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,” Velazquez said.

Pletcher said he would likely stretch Notacatbutallama out in distance this summer, perhaps in a race like the Grade 2, $200,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 9.