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Calibrachoa Heads Toboggan Entry

In 2010, Todd Pletcher and Rudy Rodriguez were strong forces on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit, respectively finishing first and third in the year-end trainer standings. In Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan at Aqueduct Racetrack, the two horsemen will be well represented in the six-furlong dash that serves as NYRA’s first graded stakes of 2011.

 

Pletcher, recognized at the Eclipse Awards Monday night as North America’s Outstanding Trainer, has entered a pair of Repole Stable horses in the Toboggan. That duo, Calibrachoa and Driven by Success, swept the top two spots in the Gravesend at Aqueduct on December 18 and form a coupled entry that was installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s race.

 

The Gravesend was Calibrachoa’s first start since for Pletcher and Repole, having been claimed by those connections for $40,000 out of a 4 ¾-length victory at the Big A on November 18. Calibrachoa had previously raced on the lead or just off the pace, but showed a new dimension in the Gravesend when he rallied from 2 ¼ lengths back in fifth, en route to a 1 ½-length decision over his stablemate.

 

“He’s versatile enough that he can show speed if we need him to, and we know we have options with him,” said Pletcher of the 4-year-old son of Southern Image. “If you look at his record, he’s always been a consistent horse. He ran a fast race when he was second to Black Pen [in a $50,000 claiming race at Belmont Park on October 14], and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time in the Gravesend. He’s a good-looking, sound horse, and I can see him stretching out at some point, maybe up to a mile.”

 

Ramon Dominguez, NYRA’s top rider by wins the past two years and the 2010 Eclipse winner for Outstanding Jockey, will ride Calibrachoa from post 6.

 

While Calibrachoa is new to the stakes ranks in New York, Driven by Success has competed in 17 stakes at Aqueduct, Belmont, or Saratoga Race Course so far in his career, with three black-type victories to his credit. Fifth in the Toboggan in 2009 and third in this race in 2010, Driven by Success drew post 3 for this year’s renewal, which Pletcher admits isn’t ideal for the 6-year-old gelding.

 

“He’s definitely better when he has drawn outside,” said Pletcher of Driven by Success, who is cross-entered in Friday’s $60,000 Mr. International for New York-breds. “Last time we had to hustle him to the lead [from post 1], but he ran a courageous race.”

 

Michael Luzzi has the call aboard Driven by Success.

 

In the Toboggan, Rodriguez will send out Temecula Creek and Endless Circle, the respective second and third selections on the morning line.

 

Winless in four stakes races in the summer and early fall, Temecula Creek returned to the winner’s circle with a 2 ¼-length optional claiming triumph at Aqueduct on November 25, and followed that effort with a breakthrough 2 ½-length tally in the Valley Forge at Parx Racing on December 7. Owned by Steven Speranza and Robert Joscelyn, the 7-year-old has worked twice since that effort, including a 48 1/5 four-furlong bullet breeze over the inner track on January 14.

 

“The morning is different from the afternoon, but I’m hoping he’ll run his race,” noted Rodriguez. “He always tries and is an honest horse, and we think he’ll run well.”

 

Temecula Creek, 3-1 on the morning line, will leave from post 6 under Cornelio Velasquez.

 

Vincent S. Scuderi’s and James A. Riccio’s Endless Circle, who overcame interference to take the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 25, will attempt to regain the winning thread after finishing third, defeated 5 ¾ lengths, in the Gravesend.

 

“Maybe we ran him back too soon, but he has been working well since that race,” said Rodriguez.

 

David Cohen has the call aboard Endless Circle, 7-2 on the morning line, from post 2.

 

Independence War returns to New York after having made five straight starts at Parx Racing, including a half-length victory over fellow Toboggan entrant Flat Bold on December 18 in their most recent starts. The Toboggan will be Independence War’s first race for owner Mat Stables and trainer Patricia Farro, who claimed the gelded son of Red Bullet for $40,000 last time out.

 

Angel Arroyo will ride Independence War, 12-1 on the morning line, from the rail in the Toboggan.

 

Completing the field are Jack on the Rocks, seventh in the Gravesend following a runner-up effort in the Fall Highweight, and Fastus Cactus.

 

The field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan:

Program No.

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

3

Driven by Success (NY)

M J Luzzi

120

T A Pletcher

6-5

1a

7

Calibrachoa (KY)

R A Dominguez

120

T A Pletcher

6-5

2

1

Independence War (FL)

A S Arroyo

116

P Farro

12-1

3

2

Endless Circle (NY)

D Cohen

123

R R Rodriguez

7-2

4

4

Fastus Cactus (FL)

J L Espinoza

116

N Chatterpaul

30-1

5

5

Flat Bold (KY)

E Castro

116

T Albertrani

6-1

6

6

Temecula Creek (FL)

C H Velasquez

120

R R Rodriguez

3-1

7

8

Jack On the Rocks (MD)

C C Lopez

120

G P Gullo

15-1

 

 

 

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