Noted Checks Off Turf Return with Pulpit Win

December 9, 2023

Noted holding off Reminder for the victory. (Lauren King)

Win Gives Jockey Ortiz Jr. Sweep of Gulfstream Turf Stakes

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Repole Stable’s Grade 2-placed Noted, back on turf following a disappointing effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), found running room late and held off fast-closing longshot Reminder to win Saturday’s $100,000 Pulpit by a neck at Gulfstream Park.

The 10th running of the 7 ½-furlong Pulpit for 2-year-olds anchored an 11-race program as co-headliner with the $100,000 Wait a While for 2-year-old fillies – the first two stakes on Gulfstream’s brand-new turf course.

Noted ($4.40), beaten a nose in the 1 1/16-mile Bourbon (G2) Oct. 8 at Keeneland in his last try on grass, gave jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. a sweep of Saturday’s stakes following Ozara’s victory in the Wait a While. It was the second straight Pulpit win for Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher and third overall after Ari Gold (2022) and Tapwrit (2016).

“He had to work out a trip. I was a little worried at the eighth pole. It still looked like he was looking for room but once he got a seam to run at,he quickened nicely,” Pletcher said. “The only thing we wanted to be mindful of is it was 7 ½ [furlongs] and we didn’t want to leave him with too much to do.”

Prevent, breaking from the rail, was pressed on the lead by fellow longshot Tocayo through a quarter mile in 22.90 seconds and a half in 45.91. Ortiz settled Noted, who began outside all but two of his nine rivals, in seventh along the rail, and still found himself blocked behind horses after six furlongs went in 1:09.36.

“It felt like they were running,” Ortiz said. “I had to try to stay close. I had good position. At the three-eighths to the quarter pole, I waited a little longer. But when I came out of there and asked my horse to go, he responded very well. He was ready.”

Ortiz tipped outside once straightened for home and then had to swing around Palm Tree inside the eighth pole to find a seam, then closed stoutly down the center of the track as Reminder, racing for the first time on turf after a win and four thirds on Gulfstream’s all-weather Tapeta course, made his bid on the far outside.

Noted completed the distance in 1:27.30 over the firm course and now has two wins and two seconds in five tries on the grass. Reminder was a head in front of Palm Tree in third, with another half-length back to General Ledger in fourth.

In his other two races Noted, by 2014 Holy Bull (G3) winner Cairo Prince, won the Aug. 26 Sapling at Monmouth Park over Dornoch, a full brother to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage that won the Remsen (G2) last out, and was last of nine in the Juvenile behind Pletcher-trained stablemate Fierceness.

“I was a little concerned with the 7 ½ [today] but he seemed to come out of the Breeders’ Cup well, he carries good condition and he’s an easy horse to train so I felt like he was ready to run back,” Pletcher said.

“We’re not going to rule [dirt] out. If he trains really well, we might give him another shot at some stage,” he added. “He’s got that win in the Sapling that looks good on paper, but in the Breeders’ Cup he didn’t fire.”

The Pulpit is named for Claiborne Farm’s late Gulfstream-based homebred that won four of six starts in his only season of 1997, including victories in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and Blue Grass (G2) while also running second in the Florida Derby (G1) and fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Injured in that race and retired to stud at Claiborne, Pulpit went on to the sire such horses as 2010 Florida Derby winner Ice Box, 2007 Met Mile (G1) winner Corinthian and 2004 Wood Memorial (G1) winner Tapit, now one of racing’s most influential sires.

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