Up to the Mark was a $450,000 yearling purchase by Mike Repole & St. Elias Stables, and was highly thought of as a juvenile (he reportedly outworked eventual graded winner Wit at Saratoga as a juvenile prior to experiencing a series of minor setbacks which delayed his debut for a year) before eventually winning first-time out at Saratoga as a 3YO going 6 furlongs on dirt. Disappointing in a series of allowance races the rest of that season, he made his turf debut at Gulfstream in his first start as a 4YO, and rocketed home by 4 lengths in 1:33 for the mile. Another impressive Gulfstream allowance win followed, this time in 1:40 for 1-1/16 miles, before he stepped straight into Grade 1 company for his stakes debut, which was a 3rd place finish in Keeneland’s Maker’s Mark Mile, only a neck behind the reigning Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Modern Games.
Stretched out to 1-1/8 miles on the Kentucky Derby undercard, Up to the Mark scored a devastating win in the G1 Turf Classic, circling the field off the turn and drawing off with his wicked turn of foot. He showed that same acceleration again when taking the G1 Manhattan at 1-1/4 miles in 1:59 1/5 on Belmont Stakes Day, earning a 105 Beyer Speed Figure on the heels of his 103 at Churchill.
After missing some time with a minor issue over the summer, Up to the Mark shortened back up for Keeneland’s G1 Coolmore Turf Mile, and after an eventful trip was able to run down the favored Master of the Seas (who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile in his next start) just on the wire to win his third straight Grade 1.
Connections opted for the 1-1/2 mile Breeders’ Cup Turf over the Mile for him at Santa Anita to close his career, and Up to the Mark ran a game race to finish 2nd after a wide trip, beaten under a length by dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin, who snuck through with a ground-saving trip.
With a career record of (12) 6-1-2, and earnings of $2,511,050, Up to the Mark retires to stud at Lane’s End Farm for a fee of $25,000 LFSN in 2024, and we are excited to have secured a share in him for our friends at Wasabi Ventures Stallions.
Despite his success as a turf horse, Up to the Mark has an undeniably dirt pedigree, being a son of leading sire Not This Time (also the sire of Eclipse Champion, Travers winner and promising young stallion Epicenter) out of a mare by leading sire Ghostzapper (winner of the Met Mile and BC Classic), who is herself a full-sister to a dirt sprint stakes winner, the pair of them out of the wickedly fast G1 Test winner Capote Belle.
Given that he himself was a winner at 6 furlongs on dirt in his debut before eventually scoring top-level wins on turf at 8 furlongs, 9 furlongs and 10 furlongs, plus that excellent placing against the highest company at 12 furlongs, Up to the Mark possessed a dazzling amount of versatility in addition to his obvious quality and turn of foot, and we love his chances to become an important stallion.
TDN Video Feature on Up to the Mark
Up to the Mark wins the G1 Turf Classic
Up to the Mark wins the G1 Manhattan
Up to the Mark wins the G1 Coolmore Turf Mile