Calibrachoa reeled in entrymate Driven by Success to give trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Mike Repole a sweep of the top two spots in the $65,000 Gravesend Stakes Dec. 18 at Aqueduct Racetrack (VIDEO).
Claimed for $40,000 by Repole Stable out of a 4 ¼-length victory at the Big A Oct. 14 in his most recent start, Calibrachoa settled in fifth as Driven by Success dueled with Footcandles and Ju Jitsu Jax through an opening quarter-mile in 22.13. David Cohen gave Calibrochoa his cue midway on the far turn, and the colt made a steady run on the outside to grab the lead with a sixteenth to travel. He came oway with a 1 ½-length triumph over Driven by Success.
Calibrachoa, part of a coupled entry that went off as the 3-2 favorite, returned $5 to his backers, completing six furlongs in 1:08.85.
“We didn’t want Calibrachoa and Driven by Success butting heads, so I told David to keep an eye on him and the others,” said Pletcher. “He settled into a good spot, tipped out wide, and finished strongly. We’ll probably send him to the Toboggan.”
The $100,000 Toboggan (gr. III) is Jan. 22 at six furlongs.
Previously trained by Steve Asmussen for breeder Nelson Bunker Hunt, the winning 3-year-old son of Southern Image --Fort Lauderdale, by Montbrook, is 5-3-1 from 11 starts and has earned $160,540, including the $39,000 winner’s share of the Gravesend purse.
“[Calibrachoa] was pretty straight-and-narrow,” said Cohen. “He settled well, circled the field, and gave me a very strong finish. He was obviously very well prepared.”
The Gravesend was one of four wins on the day for Cohen, who also took race 4 with Dr Disco ($4.10), race 7 with Black Pen ($3.40), and race 9 with Fortheloveof Anna ($7.20). The all-Cohen Late Pick 3 paid $36.60 for a winning $2 wager.
Endless Circle finished third in the Gravesend, with Ju Jitsu Jax, Ravalo, Footcandles, and Jack On the Rocks completing the order of finish. Mesa Sunrise was scratched.