Mike Repole’s Calibrachoa made it a perfect 4-for-4 over the Aqueduct inner track, as he ran down longshot Diski Dance at the top of the stretch to win the $150,000 Toboggan (gr. III) (VIDEO) for the second consecutive year on Feb. 4.
Sent off as part of a heavily-favored coupled entry for Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher, 5-year-old Calibrachoa scored by 2 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:09.47 for his fourth grade III victory—all of them at Aqueduct. The son of Southern Image was ridden by Cornelio Velasquez.
Pletcher claimed Calibrachoa for $40,000 in November 2010, and he has won five times since then in addition to being grade I placed twice. One of those was in the 2011 Toboggan, where he won by a half-length as the 2-5 choice.
He was bred in Kentucky by N. B. Hunt and is out of the Montbrook mare Fort Lauderdale.
Sent off at odds of 3-5, Calibrachoa followed pacesetter Diski Dance through fractions of :23.35 and :46.07. Diski Dance, a 19-1 longshot riddern by Angel Arroyo, still led narrowly coming off the turn but was methodically run down by Calibrachoa, who took over approaching the eighth-pole and spurted away.
Diski Dance did well to hold second, three parts of a length in front of Calibrachoa’s stablemate Caixa Eletronica. Candyman E closed to grab fourth.
“First jump out of the gate, he stumbled, but he stayed in the race," Velasquez said. "I stayed right there in second easy, and waited until the last three-sixteenths. I asked him, and he passed. I had a lot of horse. He was the best horse in the race.”
Calibrachoa improved to 9-3-4 from 19 starts and upped his earnings to $546,040.
“We’ll look at the Tom Fool (Handicap, gr. III, March 3)," Pletcher said. "He’s so good at Aqueduct we have to look at it.”
The winner paid $2.90, $2.10, and $2.10. The exacta (2B-5) returned $28 and the trifecta (2B-5-1A) was worth $48.