Owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica is known as a sprinter but had won his only race at 1 1/8 miles, a starter allowance test at Saratoga. He had no problem with the distance and the three turns in the Classic, which he won from off the pace.
“People thought he may not go the mile and an eighth, but he did it so easy,” said jockey Javier Castellano, who made the trip from Keeneland in Lexington earlier in the evening. "I really had a beautiful trip. I talked to Todd this morning, and he told me to put the horse in the game.”
The pace in the Classic was contested but not quick—the opening quarter-mile went in :23.45, the half-mile in :48, and six furlongs in 1:12.65. The field of 10 was bunched up for much of the race and it appeared a horse would win from off the pace when pace-setter Pants On Fire began to fade entering the final turn.
Caixa Eletronica rated in fourth or fifth for most of the race, left the rail on the final turn, circled up to challenge Duke of Mischief and took off to win by three lengths in 1:50.28 for the 1 1/8 miles. Duke of Mischief, last year’s Charles Town Classic winner, rallied from ninth to take a short lead and held for second, while Mister Marti Gras rallied from last on the final turn to bag third.
Favored Tackleberry was tucked inside behind the leaders and finished an even fourth. The winner paid $18.80.
“It looked like he would be right there,” Castellano said. “The track was very fair tonight. When you ride for Todd you can be comfortable and confident. I was in good hands tonight. Everything worked out great.”
Caixa Eletronica, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Arromanches out of the Skip Away mare Edyta, was bred by Richard Rowan. Last year he finished third in the grade I Vosburgh Invitational, a sprint at Belmont Park.
Repole didn’t make the trip to West Virginia from his home in New York but was contacted later.
“Caixa is the type of racehorse that made me fall in love with this game as a kid,” Repole said. “Six furlongs, a mile and an eighth, 131 pounds at Saratoga, 10 days between races, fast track, mud—you name it. He is a true racehorse.
“He might not be the best horse I have ever owned but he is the most fun horse I will ever own. How can you not love this horse?”
Cesar Estevez, assistant trainer for Pletcher, said Caixa Eletronica had a “good trip” this morning from New York and settled nicely into his stall. “He was just relaxing and waiting for the money,” he said with a laugh.
Charles Town racing officials weren't even expecting Caixa Eletronica for the Classic, which attained grade II status for its fourth edition.
"Todd called the morning entries were taken and put the horse in the race," Zimny said.
Caixa Eletronica already had earnings of $542,205 with 16 wins from 51 starts. His 17th win netted him another $576,000.