08/09/2013 5:13PM

Saratoga: Notacatbutallama wins Hall of Fame in slop

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Barbara D. Livingston
Notacatbutallama, with John Velazquez riding, takes the the Hall of Fame for his third straight win.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Though Notacatbutallama was turning into a very professional turf horse, trainer Todd Pletcher felt the New York-bred 3-year-old was doing too well not to run him even when Friday's $200,000 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes was rained off to the dirt.

Notacatbutallama rewarded his trainer's decision to keep him in the race by rallying along the rail in the sloppy Saratoga stretch under John Velazquez to win the Hall of Fame by three-quarters of a length over North Slope. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Battier, who was third by a neck over Charming Kitten. Get in Line finished last.

Rydilluc and Balance the Books both scratched after the Hall of Fame, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, was transferred to the dirt because of heavy rain. This was the second straight year the Hall of Fame Stakes was rained off the turf to the dirt. Because of the change of surface it is automatically downgraded to a Grade 3 race pending a review by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Notacatbutallama, a son of Harlan's Holiday, had finished second in the Damon Runyon Stakes run over a sloppy Aqueduct inner track in December and had worked well enough on the dirt in Saratoga to keep him in the race.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

The alternatives, Pletcher said, were to run in the $100,000 Stroll, an overnight stakes for open-company 3-year-olds on turf at 1 3/16 miles on Wednesday or face older New York-breds in the $150,000 West Point on Thursday.

"There were options," Pletcher said. "Just not great options."

In the Hall of Fame, John Velazquez kept Notacatbutallama in the second tier behind Get in Line, who was being pressed by North Slope. Velazquez bided his time before directing Notacatbutallama through a wide opening along the inside turning for home.

Notacatbutallama caught North Slope inside the eighth pole and edged clear for his third straight win and sixth from 12 starts for owner Mike Repole.

Notacatbutallama ran 1 1/8 miles on the sloppy main track in 1:52.29 and paid $7.70

Velazquez said he waited as long as he could to make his move so jockey Luis Saez, aboard North Slope, wouldn't see him.

"If he sees me, he's going to come over," said Velazquez, who won his seventh stakes of the meet. "Let me hide myself behind the horse that was on the lead. I hid myself until past the quarter pole and then I dropped back to the inside, and it worked out pretty good."

Pletcher said he would prefer to keep Notacatbutallama on the turf but "at least we know now in this situation what he can do."

Flashy American takes Alada

In the $100,000 Alada Stakes, Flashy American rallied down the center of the sloppy main track under Joel Rosario to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Street Secret.

It was the third win in the last four starts for Flashy American, a 4-year-old daughter of Flashy Bull owned by Preston Stables and trained by Ken McPeek. Her lone loss in that span came when she was second to Authenticity in the Grade 3 Shuvee earlier in this meet.

Flashy American covered the 1 1/8 miles Friday in 1:50.18 and returned $4.80 to win.

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