06/15/2013 6:11PM

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

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.

JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
LOL - I love the name of this horse! - LOL. Notacatbutallama ran on the undercard at Pimlico Preakness Stakes Day (it might have been KY Derby Day, it was one of the two). They showed the race on the NBC Sports Network, and when I heard the horse's name for the first time I definitely laughed out loud. It's a funny & it's memorable name. I didn't hear the name until they were loading horses into the starting gate for that race, so I didn't have a chance to play it that day, but the name of the horse and it's performance that day was memorable enough that I kept an eye out for the horse's next outing, which turned out to be Saturday at Belmont. Nice, nice win, Notacatbutallama!! Johnny V. ran a great race on Notacatbutallama - I was very impressed with the horse's performance & Johnny V.'s as well. What fun that Notacatbutallama was the horse on which Johnny V. got his 5,000th career victory. He will always remember the name of this horse! - LOL. Congratulations, Mr. Velazquez on your 5,000th victory, to Notacatbutallama for a very fine performance, Todd Pletcher for the progress of this horse, and Mike Repole for giving this horse his very catchy & memorable name. Congratulations to all!
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
Kalar Walters More than 1 year ago
I must admit, classy-lookin' horse.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Kalar, the story behind the name, Notacatbutallama, is pretty funny. Mike Repole & his wife was playing a game, I'm not sure which game, with a few friends. Mike's wife had a partner in this game and her partner was drawing a picture to give her a clue about the drawing, and said, "Not a cat but a......" and Mike's wife screamed out the word "llama" in response to her partner's clue. Everyone busted out laughing at her response. - LOL. The response was so memorable that Mike named his next horse after his wife's response. Thus, "Notacatbutallama" gained this unusual name.