Not This Time tallied a remarkable three stakes winner on June 10, none more impressive than Up to the Mark, who dominated a top-class field to win the $750,000 Manhattan S. (G1) by 2 ¾-lengths.
Earlier on the Belmont card, Next was a gate-to-wire winner of the Brooklyn S. (G2), while at Prairie Meadows, Ain’t Life Grand was and easy winner of the Rasmussen S. for career stakes win number seven.
The 4-year-old Up to the Mark was made the Manhattan favorite off his recent win the Turf Classic (G1) on Derby Day at Churchill Downs, and played the part to perfection. Under Irad Ortiz, Jr., he stalked the pace in fourth for nearly a mile before launching his bid. He went by pacesetter Strong Quality in just a few strides, leaving the field behind with his powerful stretch run under a hand ride.
The bay colt covered the 1 ¼-miles on the firm turf in 1:59.31.
“Looked like he was nice and settled and relaxed and just waiting to let him go when the time was right,” said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “He accelerated nicely and handled the mile and quarter the way we hoped he would.”
“This horse is getting so much better. Todd put him on the turf, and obviously he’s a different horse,” added owner Mike Repole. “He’s a special horse. We liked him as a 2-year-old on the dirt and he’s turning out to be the best turf horse in the United States right now.”
Up to the Mark was bred in Kentucky by Ramspring Farm. He was purchased by Repole and Vinnie Viola of St. Elias Stable as a Keeneland September yearling for $450,000.
Saturday’s victory made his racing’s newest millionaire, with $1,242,050 in earnings from a record of 10-5-0-2.
Up to the Mark is Not This Time’s third seven-figure earner, joining Epicenter and Sibelius. He is also one of five Grade 1 winners for the Taylor Made stallion.