Trainer Todd Pletcher has confirmed both WinStar Farm’s Rule and Mike Repole’s Caixa Eletronica for next Saturday’s
Grade 1, $750,000 Whitney Invitational Handicap, with the former posting a
five-furlong breeze on the Oklahoma
training track on Sunday.
Working in company with 2-year-old maiden Palace Malice, Rule was clocked in 1:02.35.
“Rule is sort of an old, wiser horse who does what he has to do
in the mornings,” said Pletcher. “It’s typical for him to not
‘wow’ you in the morning, but it seems like he’s doing
Rule, winner of the Birdstone Stakes and third in the Grade 1 Woodward
last year at Saratoga, has made one start this year, taking the Grade 2
Monmouth Cup by 1 ½ lengths over Flat Out on July 7.
Pletcher said it was the second time Rule had worked in company with
Palace Malice, a juvenile Dogwood Stable color-bearer. Hailing from
Curlin’s first crop, Palace Malice was second by a half-length to Carried
Interest in a five-furlong race on July 5 at Belmont Park
in his lone previous start.
“Both were looking for a similar five-eighths work,” said
Pletcher. “We’ve got a race and two works [into Rule], so
we’re good to go [for the Whitney].”
Pletcher had considered running the Caixa Eletronica in the Grade 1,
six-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on August 5 before deciding in favor
of the 1 1/8-mile Whitney. After winning Belmont’s
Grade 2 True North Handicap at six furlongs on June 9, Caixa Eletronica was
fifth in the Grade 3 James Marvin at seven furlongs on the July 20 opening-day
card at the Spa.
“Caixa Eletronica is going to run in the Whitney, but since he is
running back in two weeks he will not breeze,” said Pletcher.
“He’s 2-for-2 at a mile and an eighth, he’s won a $1 million
race [the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic] at a mile and an eighth, and we felt
like the six furlongs here may not set up like the six furlongs at Belmont [in the True
North]. I think it’s a little harder to make that deep-closing move
Pletcher said Palace Malice’s second start will come in a 6
½-furlong maiden race on Whitney Day.
“We would have preferred to run him a little farther first-time
out, but he was ready to go so we opted to run him five furlongs [at Belmont],” said
Pletcher. “The obvious choice after that is to try to stretch him out, so
we’re waiting on the [6 ½-furlong maiden race].”
Also on the worktab for Pletcher was Repole’s Stay Thirsty, who breezed four furlongs on
training track in 49.22. The 2011 Travers winner will make his next start in
the Grade 1 Woodward on September 1, Pletcher said.
Pletcher added that Blue Heaven Farm’s Maple Forest has been pointed toward the Grade 2 Honorable
Miss Handicap, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares on August 3.
“We entered her in a stake at Monmouth today and it didn’t
fill, so we’ll call an audible and try that,” said Pletcher.