08/08/2013 4:36PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes


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The Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Friday, traditionally run the day of the Hall of Fame inductions, is the fifth meeting between favorites Charming Kitten and Rydilluc - but there's a new element to the rivalry this time that might break the 2-2 tie in Charming Kitten's favor: Get In Line, an overmatched stablemate who was clearly entered as a rabbit to keep Rydilluc from getting loose.

Rydilluc has never been worse than a close second early in his six turf starts, and while he's not a crazy need-the-lead type, the Mike Maker-trained Get In Line could keep him engaged early to help his Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate, Charming Kitten, who's usually farther back early.

It's tough to make a case for the other three betting interests. Notacatbutallama won two small stakes at Belmont against weaker than these, and Balance the Books has yet to take a step forward off the 2-year-old form that won him the Grade 2 With Anticipation and Grade 3 Bourbon. If I were going to take a shot against the favorites, I'd be more inclined to try North Slope, who had a slow start in his last, adds blinkers, and posted a strong figure winning an N2L allowance at Belmont in May.

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