Not This Time’s Up to the Mark scored a heart-stopping victory over Master of the Seas (IRE) in Saturday’s $1 million Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, the third consecutive Grade 1 win for the 4-year-old colt.
With wins coming in the Manhattan (G1, 10 furlongs at Belmont) and Turf Classic (G1, 9 furlongs at Churchill Downs), Up to the Mark’s Grade 1 wins have come at three different distances and tracks. He is the leading earner this year for Not This Time, who also accounted for Woodford S. (G2) winner Arzak on the Keeneland card.
Up to the Mark and Master of the Seas both set well off the early pace and were side-by-side through a half-mile that went in :47.31. Going into the final turn, Master of the Seas began to move up along the rail, with Up to the Mark closely following him. Master of the Seas made his way to the lead in upper stretch, with Up to the Mark having to weave through traffic before making his dramatic final surge. The duo hit the wire almost simultaneously, with Up to the Mark a nose in front to claim victory.
“He got a great trip today. [Jockey] Jose [Ortiz] made a very smart move in the middle of the turn when he decided to follow [Master of the Seas] and things split (open),” trainer Todd Pletcher said.
Up to the Mark has now earned $1,831,050 and sports a record of 6-0-2 in 11 starts. He is owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, who purchased him for $450,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling sale.
With his colt’s versatility, Pletcher indicated that Up to the Mark’s Breeders’ Cup options remain open, with both the Mile and the 1 ½-mile Turf to be considered.
Pedigree notes from the TDN
Up to the Mark is out of Belle’s Finale, an unraced daughter of the outstanding Capote Belle, who carried the Robert and Lawana Low colors to victory in three graded events, including the 1996 GI Test S. Belle’s Finale is a full-sister to Zapper Belle, a stakes winner and third in the GIII Valley View S. on the grass, and a half to Gata Bella, the dam of Catapult (Kitten’s Joy), a two-time graded winner on the turf. Belle’s Finale was bred to Not This Time for 2024.