Repole Stable’s Notacatbutallama (Harlan’s Holiday), freshened since a wide-trip sixth in the Grade 2 Jerome on January 5, made a huge move in the far turn from near the back of the field to finish third in the one-mile, $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes, which was run on firm turf at Pimlico on Preakness Day.
Taken back after the break from post one while much of the speed to his outside swept past, 2-1 chalk Notacatbutallama looked a little hard to handle for jockey John Velazquez in the early stages, but negotiated the clubhouse turn cleanly in the two-path, avoiding trouble when Yougotthatgoinforu, also near the back of the field of 10 sophomores, clipped heels and lost his rider entering the turn
Cruising in seventh and more than 10 lengths behind pacesetter Redwood Kitten in the backstretch, Notacatbutallama made a big four-wide move rounding the turn for home, and emerged in third at the top of the stretch. Unable to make up the final four lengths on winner Redwood Kitten, Notacatbutallama finished third. The winner completed the one mile distance over the firm turf in 1:35.17.
Jockey John Velazquez, who piloted the colt for his first six careers starts and had the call on Saturday from trainer Todd Pletcher, said, “I was comfortable where I was. I think it was a little too much to make up and, you know, he probably needed the race, too. He hadn’t run in a couple months. He ran really well.”
With his third-place finish in the James Murphy, Notacatbutallama’s record now stands at 3-3-1 from nine starts with $218,334 in earnings.
Out of the exacta only once in a 7-race juvenile campaign, Notacatbutallama broke his maiden second out by an impressive 6 1/2 lengths at Saratoga and followed a solid fourth in the Grade 2 With Anticipation with a runner-up finish in Belmont’s Grade 3 Pilgrim. Notacatbutallama next reeled off back-to-back open stakes tallies, winning Belmont’s Incurable Optimist in October by 1 1/4 lengths and the Super Mario at Aqueduct by 3 1/2 lengths in November. He wound up the year finishing second to Smooth Bert in his first start on dirt in the Damon Runyon in December.
A fourth generation product of Happy Hill Farm breeding, Notacatbutallama was foaled at Sue and Gary Lundy’s Cedar Ridge Farm in Pine Plains. He is one of five foals to start and the third winner out of Self Rising, a stakes-placed daughter of Hansel ($164,931). Her second foal was nine-time winner and six-figure earner Toque by Alphabet Soup ($147,396).
Notacatbutallama first sold as a 2011 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred Saratoga yearling for $50,000 to Nick de Meric, who turned him around as a two-year-old at the OBS Spring sale, where he was purchased by Repole Stables for $105,000.
Self Rising currently has a 2-year-old filly by Mineshaft named Jazzminegem. The filly, who was also bred by Happy Hill Farm and foaled at Cedar Ridge Farm, was purchased by Peacock Ridge, Agent, from the consignment of Becky Thomas’s Sequel Bloodstock for $100,000 at the 2013 OBS spring sale of 2-year-olds in training after recording a 10.0 breeze.