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Calibrachoa Seeks Repeat in Toboggan

In 2011, Calibrachoa earned his first graded stakes victory with a half-length triumph in the Grade 3, six-furlong Toboggan. Saturday, Calibrachoa will be joined by fellow Repole Stable color-bearer Caixa Eletronica when he makes a title defense at Aqueduct Racetrack in the $150,000 race.

 

Now 5, Calibrachoa is 5-0-1 from six starts at Aqueduct and is unbeaten in three outings over the inner track. Most recently, he was third, beaten four lengths in the Big A’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap on the main track November 26. Caixa Eletronica, who beat one horse to finish fifth in the Cigar Mile, returned to take the Rise Jim overnight stakes by 4 ¾ lengths January 8. The coupled entry was made the 7-5 favorite for the Toboggan.

 

“[Calibrachoa is] a horse who seems to run well fresh, and since we had Caixa Eletronica for the [Rise Jim] we decided to pass that one with him and freshen him up for a title defense,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of the decision to train Calibrachoa up to the Toboggan. “He seems to love Aqueduct and love the inner track, so we decided to focus on this.”

 

In addition to his 2011 Toboggan victory, Calibrachoa boasts wins in the 2010 Gravesend and last March’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap on the inner track. He prepped for the Cigar Mile with a score in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler on the main track.

 

Cornelio Velasquez will ride Calibrachoa from post position 8.

 

Caixa Eletronica, whose claims to fame include a win in the Grade 3 Westchester and a third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont in 2011, will attempt to land his second stakes in 2012 after rallying from last of five to regain winning form in the Rise Jim.

 

“It just seemed like he was ready to go [for the Rise Jim], and we didn’t want to run them both in a smaller stake,” said Pletcher. “Calibrachoa runs better when there’s a little space between races, but I think either of them could have gotten the job done.”

 

Because Caixa Eletronica has already proven he can run well off a short rest by taking a pair of starter handicaps in an 11-day span last summer at Saratoga Race Course, Pletcher is considering running the 7-year-old son of Arromanches in Laurel Park’s Grade 2 General George Handicap 16 days after the Toboggan.

 

“He ran back quickly at Saratoga, and he’s just one of those horses who does anything,” said Pletcher. “He’s a warrior and will go six furlongs to a mile and an eighth under 131 pounds. He loves the game.”

 

Caixa Eletronica will leave from post 5 under Junior Alvarado.

 

Dr Disco will make his graded stakes debut in the Toboggan, having won the December 4 Vodka overnight stakes for New York-breds by a length and defeating three opponents when taking a January 2 open optional claimer by 2 ¼ lengths. The 4-year-old is 5-1-0 from six starts on the inner track.

 

“If we’re going to do it, this is the time to take a shot and decide whether he is going to be a nice New York-bred stakes horse or step up,” said Bruce Brown, who conditions Dr Disco for Joseph DiRico. “He loves the inner track. He hugs the rail around the turn. Sometimes he drifts a little bit in the stretch but he corners very well. I think that’s what helps him at Aqueduct with the tighter turns. While some of the other horses might be struggling to get around the turn, he scoots around there and saves a lot of ground. That’s a big advantage for him.”

 

In his most recent start, Dr Disco used new tactics as he was third, 1 ½ lengths behind the leader, at the first call under jockey Mike Luzzi before forging to the front approaching the quarter pole.

 

“It’s good to know he’s not a one-dimensional horse, that you can ease him back and that he doesn’t need to be in front,” said Brown. “It wasn’t the plan last time, it just worked out that way. That’s the thing with Mike [Luzzi] – he knows him so well. With Dr Disco maturing, he’s gotten to the point where you can do that with him and he still responds. He still has his speed, but he doesn’t have to be in front.”

 

Luzzi retains the mount aboard Dr Disco, who drew the rail and was installed at 8-1 on the morning line.

 

Candyman E will ship north from Tony Dutrow’s base at Palm Meadows in Florida to put a four-race winning streak on the line in the Toboggan. He has won six of his last seven, with his last four races having come for Dutrow after being trained by Michael Mareina earlier in his career.

 

The winning streak began with a romp in a Delaware Park conditioned claiming race in July, continued with a pair of optional claiming scores at Delaware and Parx Racing in July and September, and was extended to four with a triumph in the De Francis Dash on October 22 at Laurel Park.

 

“It looks like [Candyman E] came to the Northeast and liked the tracks, like Delaware, Parx, and Laurel,” said Dutrow. “We’re hoping he’ll like Aqueduct as well. We decided to freshen him up after the De Francis Dash and brought him to Palm Meadows where we knew the weather would be good. We’ve been thinking about the Toboggan since mid-December.”

 

In the De Francis Dash, Candyman E checked entering the far turn while racing in midpack before closing along the inside in the stretch to prevail by a half-length.

 

“It didn’t go so great for him, and he had to overcome,” said Dutrow of Candyman E’s trip in the De Francis Dash. “He ran with some talented horses, and you have to be happy with his performance.”

 

Candyman E, owned by Michael Dubb et al., will have the services of Ramon Dominguez from post 7 and will be coupled in the wagering with Flat Bold, who is unraced since finishing third in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap in November. The entry was installed at 9-5 on the morning line.

 

The Toboggan field also includes Rule by Night, Diski Dance, and J J’s Lucky Train.

 

The field for the $150,000 Toboggan:

Program No.

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

2

Flat Bold (KY)

I Ortiz, Jr.

116

R R Rodriguez

9-5

1a

7

Candyman E (KY)

R A Dominguez

120

A W Dutrow

9-5

2

5

Caixa Eletronica (KY)

J Alvarado

123

T A Pletcher

7-5

2b

8

Calibrachoa (KY)

C H Velasquez

123

T A Pletcher

7-5

3

1

Dr Disco (NY)

M J Luzzi

120

B R Brown

8-1

4

3

Rule by Night (KY)

C C Lopez

118

S M Asmussen

8-1

5

4

Diski Dance (KY)

A S Arroyo

116

C A Lynch

15-1

6

6

J J's Lucky Train (KY)

J L Flores

123

W D Anderson

6-1

 

 

 

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