The 3-year-old Harlan's Holiday colt came off a victory in the June 15 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) for trainer Todd Pletcher. He won the 1 1/16-mile Solar Splendor on the inner turf, clocking the distance in 1:42.56 over a course labeled good.
Joha quickly established control under jockey Rajiv Maragh and drew off to a 2 1/2-length lead, running splits of :25.31, :49.18, and 1:13.40 before beginning to lose his advantage. Notacatbutallama was strung out three wide on the opening bend in a seven-horse field, and ranged up from fourth to increase his presence approaching the quarter pole.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez went to work chiseling away at the lead through the furlong grounds, and Notacatbutallama responded with his best at the eighth pole to take over and edge clear.
Following home the 5-1 fourth choice and 13-1 Joha were grade II winners Balance the Books and favored Noble Tune, after which came North Slope, Chamois, and Front. Capo Bastone and English Minister scratched.
Notacatbutallama paid $13, $5.40, and $4 while Joha brought $11 and $6.90. Balance the Books returned $3.90.
Notacatbutallama improved his record to 5-3-1 from 11 starts, with earnings of $368,334. He is the winner of the 2012 Super Mario Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack and also won the Incurable Optimist overnight stakes at Belmont as a 2-year-old. Last year he was runner-up to Noble Tune in the Pilgrim Stakes (gr. IIIT) as well.
In 2013 the colt's connections tried him on dirt in the Jan. 5 Jerome Stakes (gr. II) with negative results; he finished sixth of eight before getting a breather leading into the May 18 James Murphy.
Bred by Happy Hill Farm out of the Hansel mare Self Rising, he was a $105,000 purchase at the 2012 Ocala Breeders Sales Co.'s spring sale of 2-year-olds in training when consigned by De Meric Sales. De Meric purchased him for $50,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton New York bred yearling sale, where he was consigned by Skara Brae Sales, agent.