Notacatbutallama the hall of fame2After a lackluster effort on a less than firm turf course at Colonial Downs in the $500,000 Virginia Derby Gr.2, trainer Gary Contessa opted to scratch morning line favorite Rydilluc after rain softened up the Saratoga turf course.  Va-Derby runner-up Charming Kitten, stayed in for the $200,000 Hall of Fame Stakes which was moved to the sloppy main track, but could only muster a fourth place finish in a short field.

Repole Stables’ Notacatbutallama, given plenty of rallying room along the inside, outfought North Slope to capture the the feature with MTO entry Battier coming in third.

With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, Notacatbutallama earned his third consecutive stakes win and the second graded victory of his career. He was one of three sophomores trained by Todd Pletcher in the field of five three-year-olds.

With the $196,000 race taken off the turf, it is automatically reduced to a Grade 3 pending a final review by the American Grades Stakes Committee. The race was originally scheduled for 1 1/16 miles but was instead contested at 1 ⅛ miles.

Balance the Books was also scratched.

New York-bred Notacatbutallama was timed in 1:52.29 over the trying conditions.

The winner does have a Virginia connection being by Harlan’s Holiday, out of Self Rising by Virginia-bred classic winner Hansel.

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