08/13/2010 6:14PM

Interactif by a nose in Hall of Fame

Barvara D. Livingston
Interactif (center) stays ahead of Grand Rapport (left) and Krypton (right) to win the Hall of Fame Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - By skipping next weekend’s Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington Park for Friday’s Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga, trainer Todd Pletcher thought he was running Interactif in an easier spot.
While Interactif did get to the winner’s circle, it was far from easy.

Dueling with Krypton through the final three-sixteenths of a mile, Interactif, under Javier Castellano, got the better of that one while also holding off a late surge from Grand Rapport to win the $150,000 Hall of Fame by a nose. Grand Rapport got second by a head over Krypton.

It was the fourth victory from 11 starts for Interactif, but his first win since last Oct. 11 when he took the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. It was that 10 month victory drought that prompted Pletcher to run Interactif in the Hall of Fame.

“We’ve ambitiously placed him all year,” said Pletcher, who ran Interactif in Grade 1 events such as the Blue Grass and Belmont Stakes. “He won his first stakes [With Anticipation] on the turf here last year - we knew he liked the course. The Secretariat was tempting, but Paddy O’Prado looked pretty impressive in his last two, we thought we’d take maybe the slightly softer route and try to get back on track and get him in the winner’s circle.”

Interactif rated in third position, but in the five path, down the backside while Paris Vegas set fractions of 24.03 seconds for the quarter, 48.54 for the half-mile, and 1:12.94 for six furlongs. Krypton, who was sitting second, made the lead entering the stretch and Interactif went after him. The two joined up turning at the eighth pole and were head and head down the lane.

Meanwhile, Ramon Dominguez, who had Grand Rapport in last, was biding his time before asking his late-runner to kick in.

The final yards were frantic with Interactif and Krypton exchanging head-bobs with Interactif getting his nose down on the line first. Grand Rapport somehow got his head down on the wire ahead of Krypton, the 122-pound highweight. Interactif, a son of Broken Vow owned by brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.34 and returned $3.60 as the favorite.

“He’s a fighter, he dug in when it counted [against] some nice horses and he was able to get the job done.” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said he would most likely wait to run Interactif again until in the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont Park on Oct. 9.

The Jamaica could be a spot for Grand Rapport, who proved himself a stakes caliber turf horse.

“He just ran his eyeballs out,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “There was a little bit of a lack of pace. I wish there was a little bit of a faster pace. He’s a good horse that’s just very inexperienced as stake horses go, but he’s just getting better and better. . . . “We’re going to have a lot of fun as the year goes on, that’s for sure.”