Virginia Derby runner-up Charming Kitten and race favorite Rydilluc will face off again today at Saratoga in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes Gr.2.

This will mark the fourth time the two have met – Rydilluc topped the exacta in the 1 1/8 mile Palm Beach S. Gr.3 at Gulfstream Mar. 3, while Charming Kitten was third, one placing above Rydilluc, in the  GI Blue Grass S. over the Keeneland synthetic Apr. 13. The Gary Contessa-trained Rydilluc again topped that pair’s exacta in the Penn Mile June 1.

The two three-year-olds last knocked heads in the $500,000 Virginia Derby Gr.2 at Colonial Downs where Charming Kitten missed by a head to War Dancer and Rydilluc seemed not to favor the going according to trainer Gary Contessa.

“I think that horse [Charming Kitten] and my horse probably know each other,” Contessa told BRISNET. “They probably talk to each other going down the backside. I mean, they’ve run against each other so many times.”

Rydilluc was undefeated in four career starts on turf heading into the Virginia Derby, but faded to eighth in the final quarter-mile.

“I still think Rydilluc is a sensational horse, and he’s worked fantastic,” Contessa said. “I believe we ran poorly because the turf was soft [at Colonial Downs], and my horse has trained very well since. His work the other day was poetry in motion. He looked phenomenal, and I had the first quarter in 25 [seconds] flat and the last quarter in :22 ¼.”

“He’s run really well, and we were just a little unfortunate the other day [in the Virginia Derby] when he just missed,” trainer Todd Pletcher told BRISNET. “He consistently shows up and runs hard every time. It’s just been unfortunate. I think he’s coming up to this in really good order.”

The two old rivals will face four others in the 1 1/16 miles test on the turf including Get in Line, Notacatbutallama, North Slope and Balance the Books.

To see the entries, click here.

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