The top three finishers of last month’s Gravesend Stakes, including the winner, Calibrachoa, will meet again in the $100,000 Toboggan Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 22 at Aqueduct.
A field of eight was drawn for the six-furlong inner track test. The feature of Aqueduct’s nine-race card has a probable post time of 3:45 p.m. EST.
Calibrachoa and stablemate Driven by Success, who was runner-up in the Dec. 18 Gravesend, are trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Mike Repole. They were separated by 1 1/2 lengths last time out and look to be a strong coupled entry once again as the 6-5 morning-line favorites.
Four-year-old Calibrachoa was claimed for $40,000 prior to a impressive victory Nov. 18 at Aqueduct. Previously trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Southern Image was making only his second stakes start in the Gravesend, in which he came from off the pace to win under David Cohen. He has won five of 11 starts overall. Leading rider Ramon Dominguez takes over the mount.
“He’s versatile enough that he can show speed if we need him to, and we know we have options with him,” said Pletcher. "If you look at his record, he’s always been a consistent horse. He ran a fast race when he was second to Black Pen (in a $50,000 claiming race at Belmont Park on Oct. 14), and we were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time in the Gravesend. He’s a good-looking, sound horse, and I can see him stretching out at some point, maybe up to a mile.”
Six-year-old Driven by Success was third in last year’s Toboggan and fifth in 2009. The New York-bred son of Precise End was twice grade I placed in 2009 and has won three state-restricted stakes. He’s a an eight-time winner and earner of more than $500,000. Mike Luzzi has the mount.
Third in the Gravesend was Endless Circle, one of two horses to be saddled by Rudy Rodriguez. The 7-year-old horse won the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) in November, one of eight victories in 2010. He was claimed by Rodriguez for Vince Scuderi for $14,000 back in April.
The other Rodriguez starter will be Temecula Creek, a winner of two consecutive races including the Valley Forge Stakes at Parx Racing last month as the odds-on favorite. A former $7,500 claimer trained by Rodriguez for Steven Steranza, the 7-year-old son of Gulch won six times last year and started in a pair of grade I races.
$100,000 Toboggan Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 3:45 p.m.), 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Independence War (FL), A S Arroyo, 116, P Farro
2. Endless Circle (NY), D Cohen, 123, R R Rodriguez
3. Driven by Success (NY), M J Luzzi, 120, T A Pletcher
4. Fastus Cactus (FL), J L Espinoza, 116, N Chatterpaul
5. Flat Bold (KY), E Castro, 116, T Albertrani
6. Temecula Creek (FL), C H Velasquez, 120, R R Rodriguez
7. Calibrachoa (KY), R A Dominguez, 120, T A Pletcher
8. Jack On the Rocks (MD), C C Lopez, 120, G P Gullo