Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out several runners in with a chance in graded stakes this coming holiday weekend at Aqueduct. Of them, probably the two most well known could not be any more different. In the Cigar Mile, he has Verrazano, among others, going after the big prize. Well intended since the beginning, Saturday’s test will be the final career start for the three-year-old multiple graded stakes winner, who is a one season and done performer. On the other end of the spectrum, Pletcher will also be running Repole Stable’s Caixa Eletronica in Thursday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight, and this one is anything but a one season and done type.
When Caixa Eletronica rolled by Star Harbour in the stretch, and then had enough in reserve to keep the late charge of Praetereo at bay by a half-length in his most recent start, it represented the 23rd trip to the winner’s circle for the eight-year-old son of Arromanches. The victory in Belmont Park’s $100,000 Duck Dance Stakes was as popular a one for his many fans as it was for his connections. Now 23-for-68 lifetime, Caixa Eletronica has not only amassed career earnings of $1,848,505, but he has also collected quite the loyal fan base, who enjoy seeing the non-gelded runner still getting it done after all these years. Count his trainer among his numerous admirers.
"The cool thing about him is he's kind of a no-pressure horse; we feel as if everything he does is a bonus," said Pletcher. "He's still doing well after winning 23 races and he seems to love what he's doing."
It’s been nearly three years since Pletcher and owner, Mike Repole, snatched up the then six-year-old for a $62,500 claiming tag. Since, Caixa Eletronica has been as reliable as they come, compiling a record of 11-5-4 from 28 starts, while adding more than $1.5 million to his career earnings. Among his many wins for Repole and Pletcher, include a smart score in last year’s Fall Highweight. Taking the historic race by four lengths while toting 133 pounds, it was one of his best performances. If he is to repeat on Thursday, it will be at the expense of an even stronger field.
As the 7-2 third choice on the morning line, Caixa Eletronica will break from post position 2, and will have leading rider Javier Castellano in the saddle once again. Among the salty group lining up to stop his second straight win in the Fall Highweight, include Grade 1 Forego winner Strapping Groom. He finished fourth last time in the Bold Ruler, but has already accounted for three stakes since being claimed by Drawing Away Stable in May. Kentucky Derby winning rider, Joel Rosario, will ride Sage Valley, who has a pair of graded stakes win this year, including Saratoga’s James Marvin. Trainer Mike Hushion sends out a pair, in the speedy New York-bred, B Shanny, and last year’s Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up, The Lumber Guy. And Linda Rice has entered the streaking New York-bred, Palace, who comes off two straight stakes wins.
It’s a solid field, but no one should come away surprised if Caixa Eletronica does it again, because that is what he does.
"In a lot of these cases, when you're running horses in significant races there's a lot on the line in terms of their stud value, or their residual value and all those things," said Pletcher. "In his case, we can enjoy it and that makes it kind of fun and pressure-free."
Caixa Eletronica may not have the breeding value of a Verrazano, or hosts of others for that matter, but for many that will be watching his 69th lifetime start on Thursday, he has a whole lot more. Just ask his legions of fans.