Noted Checks Off Rivals in Sapling

August 26, 2023

Noted #10 ridden by jockey Jairo Rendon win the Sapling for two-year-old colts (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Pletcher-Trained Noted Rolls Late For One-Length Victory In Saturday’s $206,000 Sapling Stakes At Monmouth Park

Tom Luicci/Monmouth Park

OCEANPORT, N.J.— If there was a disadvantage to Noted having yet to try the dirt prior to Saturday’s $206,000 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park, it was offset by the son of Cairo Prince being the only starter in the nine-horse field to have already gone two turns.

The dirt was never an issue, the two-turn experience proved invaluable and Noted – trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and owned by Repole Stable – hinted at bigger and better things to come after pulling away to a one-length victory in the 89th edition of the Sapling Stakes.

Sixth in the early going of the one-mile feature for 2-year-olds, and then seventh at the half, Noted was nudged outside by jockey Jairo Rendon and got rolling midway through the turn, collaring favorite Dornoch, a full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Mage, in mid-stretch. It was another nine lengths back to Frankie’s Empire in third.

The winning time was 1:38.91.

The Kentucky-bred Noted came in off a victory at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass at Saratoga on July 22. He was second in his debut at five furlongs on the grass at Belmont Park on June 22.

“He has always trained well on the dirt, and obviously he has run two really good races on the turf, so we weren’t concerned with this being his first dirt race,” said Stu Hampson, who oversees Pletcher’s division at Monmouth Park. “Having a good 2-year-old and the opportunity to come here on dirt is always going to be appealing, especially with the bigger races coming up on dirt in the future, and everyone always dreams about the first Saturday in May as well. So we wanted to give him his fair shot on the dirt.

“He did his part today. We’ll see what the next step is. That’s up to Todd.”

A $200,000 purchase at the Keeneland September 2022 sale, Noted paid $14.20 to win in recording his first career stakes win.

“Yes, it was his first time on the dirt, but they put him in here for a reason,” said Rendon. “I’m pretty sure they liked him, so I had confidence going in even though I didn’t know anything about this horse. I haven’t even breezed him. But you don’t worry about that with Todd Pletcher horses.”

With Give It A Whirl setting the early fractions of :23.27 and :47.49, Rendon was content to stay back. Dornoch, the 3-2 favorite, made his move early in the final turn, with 2-1 second choice Crazy Mason dropping back quickly and eventually finishing eighth. Dornoch had command until Noted came firing four-wide around the turn and surged to a clear lead in mid-stretch.

Noted with Jairo Rendon up after their victory in the Sapling (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

“He has never had dirt in his face, so when he got some dirt in his face he dropped back a little,” said Rendon. “I decided to get him outside so he could stay clear of that. I know (Dornoch) is a good horse. I had him in my sights and kept my horse outside coming home and he was really travelling well when I asked him.

“One thing I didn’t have to worry about with the distance because he has already gone two turns. That is always an advantage for a 2-year-old in a race like this.”

Hampson agreed that the two-turn experience made a difference.

“Even with the two starts – the favorite (Dornoch) only had one start under his belt. It’s especially important with 2-year-olds, the more experience you have it certainly is to your advantage,” said Hampson. “Being the only horse in the field to try two turns already certainly was an advantage. Jairo Rendon did a beautiful job of letting the horse find his rhythm. I think he could sense they were doing plenty in front of him and then he got him to go on a pretty long, sustained run from the half-mile pole in.” 

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