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Competitive Gravesend Attracts Eight

Saturday’s $65,000 Gravesend has attracted a competitive field of eight, including a strong pair from Repole Stable, the leading horse by wins on the NYRA circuit in 2010, and a versatile veteran who returns to New York off a stakes victory in Canada.


Driven by Success and Calibrachoa, trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Michael Repole, form a coupled entry that was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for the six-furlong race.


A 5-year-old gelding, Driven by Success seeks his third stakes victory of 2010, having won the Vic Ziegel Memorial at Saratoga Race Course on August 27 and the restricted New York Stallion Thunder Rumble at Aqueduct on November 14. Between those starts, the 5-year-old gelding competed twice at Belmont Park, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Vosburgh on October 3 and reporting home fourth against New York-breds in the Hudson on October 23 after throwing his head at the start.


“He’s proven himself to be capable of running against anyone on his best day,” said Pletcher of Driven by Success. “We hope he’ll be on his best behavior and can get away cleanly from the gate.”


Michael Luzzi will ride Driven by Success from the rail.


Calibrachoa will make his first start for Pletcher and Repole, having been claimed from trainer Steve Asmussen and owner/breeder Nelson Bunker Hunt for $40,000 out of a 4 ¼-length decision at Aqueduct on November 18. The sophomore will attempt to pick up his third triumph in four starts as he aired by six lengths in a Hoosier Park allowance race on September 1 and missed by a half-length when second in a $50,000 claiming race at Belmont on October 14.


“He wasn’t a very creative claim as he was 1-5 that day,” said Pletcher. “He is very consistent as he has finished in the top three in almost all of his starts. We just hope he can compete at the same level for us.”


David Cohen has the call aboard Calibrachoa from post position 4.


Endless Circle leads all horses with eight wins at NYRA’s three tracks this year, including a triumph in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on November 25 last time out. In that race, Endless Circle showed his grit when he continued his strong stretch run after being interfered by Go Go Shoot as that rival fell at the top of the lane.


“It was more like the other horse brushed him because his cut wasn’t that serious,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez, who claimed the 6-year-old on behalf of owners Vincent S. Scuderi and James A. Riccio for $14,000 in April. “This race is a little quick back, but he ran such a good race last time and is training well.”


Endless Circle, who like Driven by Success is a New York-bred son of Precise End, will leave from post 3 as the 2-1 morning-line second choice with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado aboard.


The Gravesend will be the first start on conventional dirt for Ravalo since the gelded son of Mutakddim finished third in a minor stakes at Colonial Downs in July. In the interim, the 6-year-old gelding finished second in a pair of turf sprint stakes at Saratoga, was a close fifth on the grass at Keeneland in the Grade 3 Woodford in October, and re-rallied to take the Grade 3 Kennedy Road over Woodbine’s artificial surface on November 20.


“He loves to ship, and he ran a big race in Canada four weeks ago,” said trainer Cleveland Johnson. “He runs well dirt, turf, and Polytrack. When he ran at Saratoga this summer and it was really hot, he remained cool and calm. Nothing bothers him.”


Owned by Lindy M. Redding, Ravalo drew post 2, was tabbed at 10-1 on the morning line, and will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.


The Gravesend field also includes four-time stakes victor Ju Jitsu Jax, whose trainer, Scott Lake, picked up his 5000th career score today; Footcandles, winner of two straight allowance races; Jack on the Rocks, triumphant in the restricted Maryland Million Sprint earlier this fall and second to Endless Circle in the Fall Highweight most recently; and Mesa Sunrise, fourth in the Fall Highweight.


The field for the $65,000 Gravesend:

Program No. PP






1                          1

Driven by Success (NY)

M J Luzzi


T A Pletcher


1a                        4

Calibrachoa (KY)

D Cohen


T A Pletcher


2                          2

Ravalo (KY)

J Sanchez


C Johnson


3                          3

Endless Circle (NY)

E S Prado


R R Rodriguez


4                          5

Ju Jitsu Jax (FL)

J D Acosta


S A Lake


5                          6

Footcandles (KY)

J Lezcano


J C Kimmel


6                          7

Jack On the Rocks (MD)

E Castro


G P Gullo


7                          8

Mesa Sunrise (KY)

J Rose


A W Dutrow





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