Up to the Mark came from sixth place with a quarter mile to go to win Saturday’s $1 million Turf Classic (G1) by 3 ¾-lengths in the first graded stakes win for the rapidly-improving 4-year-old Not This Time colt.
Since switching to the turf in January, Up to the Mark has three wins and a third-place finish in the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) in four grass starts.
The bay colt turned in a career-best performance in the Turf Classic, ran just prior to the Kentucky Derby. He settled in the two path to track about a half-dozen lengths off a moderate first half-mile in :48.03. The field bunched up some on the turn and Up to the Mark went widest of all to go around traffic coming into the stretch. He powered past the field in a matter of strides and was drawing away with authority to finish up in 1:47.31 for the nine furlongs on a firm turf.
“It unfolded beautifully. He got a really good trip, was able to save a little ground,” said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “The horse relaxed nicely and had a good turn of foot when called upon. We’ll probably go to the Manhattan (G1) on Belmont Day (June 10) next.”
Up to the Mark was a $450,000 purchase at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale by his owners Mike Repole and St. Elias Stable. His lifetime earnings now stand at $829,550. Up to the Mark was bred in Kentucky by Ramspring Farm.
Up to the Mark is the 25th stakes winner, 11th graded winner and fifth Grade One winner for Not This Time. With over $4.2 million in progeny earnings to date in 2023, Not This Time leads the Fourth-Crop Sire list and is in the top 10 on the General Sire list.