Mike Repole and Michael Dubb, who were in a neck-in-neck owner’s title race for most of the 2011 Saratoga meet, will square off once again in the $150,000 Toboggan Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 4 at Aqueduct. Each will send out a formidable coupled entry for the inner track sprint for older horses.
Repole and Dubb entered half the field in the six-furlong Toboggan, which was carded just prior to the $200,000 Withers (gr. III). Repole has the favorites with Calibrachoa and Caixa Eletronica, both trained by Todd Pletcher, while Dubb has Candyman E for trainer Tony Dutrow and Flat Bold with Rudy Rodriguez. Repole bested Dubb by one victory to win the Saratoga owner’s title last summer.
Post time is set for 3:37 p.m. EST.
Calibrachoa, claimed by Pletcher for Repole for $40,000 in November 2010, won the Toboggan by a half-length a year ago. It was one of four wins by the Southern Image horse since the sharp claim, three of them in graded company.
The 5-year-old horse has also been grade I-placed twice since the pickup, including a third-place finish in the Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) in his last start Nov. 26. It was the lone defeat for Calibrachoa at Aqueduct, where he is five-for-six there lifetime. He will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez.
Caixa Eletronica was claimed by the same connections for $62,500 in March of last year, and has also won four times since then. The 7-year-old horse captured his only graded stakes in the 2011 Westchester (gr. III), but has been a consistent money earner, including third-place finishes in the Met Mile and Vosburgh (both gr. I).
Caixa Eletronica won his 2012 debut in style, coasting to a 4 3/4-length score in the Jan. 8 Rise Jim Stakes at Aqueduct. Junior Alvarado will be aboard in the Toboggan.
Dubb’s best chance is with Candyman E. The 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding has won four in a row, including the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash in October in his stakes debut. In 2011, the late-blooming Candyman E won six of seven starts, including a maiden win, a $40,000 claiming victory, and successfully running through his allowance conditions.
Leading rider Ramon Dominguez has the call on Candyman E.
“It looks like he came to the Northeast and liked the tracks, like Delaware, Parx, and Laurel,” said Dutrow. “We’re hoping he’ll like Aqueduct as well. We decided to freshen him up after the De Francis Dash and brought him to Palm Meadows where we knew the weather would be good. We’ve been thinking about the Toboggan since mid-December.”
Flat Bold, claimed by Rodriguez for Dubb for $75,000 last summer at Saratoga, has not won in three starts since the purchase but has been third twice. One of those came in his most recent start, the grade III Fall Highweight Handicap in November at Aqueduct.
If the neither of the coupled entries win, it could go to Gold Square’s Rule by Night, who figures to be near the front under C. C. Lopez. The Steve Asmussen trainee is a two-time stakes winner and a three-time winner at Aqueduct. He was fourth as the odds-on favorite last out in the Dec. 17 Gravesend Handicap.
Also in the mix is J J's Lucky Train, winner of the Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct last year as a 3-year-old. He was third in the Rise Jim last out.
$150,000 Toboggan (gr. III, Race 8, 3:37 p.m.), 3YO and Up, 6 Furlongs (Inner Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Dr Disco (NY), M J Luzzi, 120, B R Brown
2. Flat Bold (KY), I Ortiz Jr., 116, R R Rodriguez
3. Rule by Night (KY), C C Lopez, 118, S M Asmussen
4. Diski Dance (KY), A S Arroyo, 116, C A Lynch
5. Caixa Eletronica (KY), J Alvarado, 123, T A Pletcher
6. J J's Lucky Train (KY), L Flores, 123, W D Anderson
7. Candyman E (KY), R A Dominguez, 120, A W Dutrow
8. Calibrachoa (KY), C H Velasquez, 123, T A Pletcher Coupled Entries: Flat Bold, Candyman E
Caixa Eletronica, Calibrachoa