08/11/2010 3:39PM

Plenty of positives for Interactif in Hall of Fame Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Interactif is the likely favorite in Friday's Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A win over the course, a versatile running style, and a cutback in distance could all conspire to give Interactif a slight edge in Friday’s contentious Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.

Six were entered to run in the Hall of Fame, provided the race remains at 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf course. Colizeo – an entrymate of Interactif – would run if forecasted rains force the race to the dirt.

Despite the relatively small field, it’s hard to separate Interactif, Krypton, and Nordic Truce. The European-shipper Paris Vegas is an unknown commodity. Grand Rapport is the only member of the field to have won at the nine-furlong distance. Citrus Kid returns from a seven-month layoff.

Interactif won his debut on dirt as a 2-year-old, but improved significantly on turf. He won the Grade 3 With Anticipation here last Sept. 4, the Bourbon at Keeneland, and was beaten less than a length when third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.

After trying synthetics and the dirt this year, he returned to turf in the Virginia Derby, where he finished second to Paddy O’Prado.

With there appearing to be a lack of pace in this field, Interactif could find himself on the lead under Javier Castellano or perhaps stalking the European shipper Paris Vegas.

“I think he’s versatile enough where he can be where you need him to be based on how the race is run,” trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Krypton and Nordic Truce were separated by a neck in the Grade 3 Hill Prince, with the former besting the latter despite some brushing in the stretch. Krypton finished third in the Virginia Derby, while Nordic Truce has yet to run back.

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of Krypton, and Christophe Clement, trainer of Nordic Truce, have a little concern about the 1 1/8 miles.

“I think his best distance might be a mile, but he’s doing really well, and if we have a decent pace, we’ll have a good chance,” McLaughlin said.

Said Clement: “I have a small question mark on the distance. I hope the grass is not too soft.”

Grand Rapport returned from a lengthy layoff with a 39-1 upset in a first-level allowance race at Monmouth Park in his first start on turf and first as a gelding.

“We have a good chance, we may be less experienced, but we are as good as anybody in the race,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “He figures prominently and he’s training great.”