Calibrachoa wins the 2011 Bold Ruler Stakes.

Calibrachoa wins the 2011 Bold Ruler Stakes.

Coglianese Photos/NYRA

Calibrachoa Gallops Away in Bold Ruler Makeup

Fast track benefits son of Southern Image who has won five in a row at Aqueduct.

A return to a fast track at Aqueduct worked to the benefit of Calibrachoa, who pressed the issue for jockey Jose Lezcano and then drew off in the final furlong to easily win the $100,000 Bold Ruler Stakes (gr. III) Nov. 6 (VIDEO).

Calibrachoa, trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Mike Repole, had suffered three consecutive losses on off-tracks, most recently finishing a dull fifth in the Vosburgh Invitational (gr. I) on a muddy surface at Belmont Park Oct. 1. Calibrachoa, a 4-year-old son of Southern Image that Pletcher claimed for $40,000 nearly one year ago, has won five consecutive starts at Aqueduct, although three were on the inner track.

The Bold Ruler, a tuneup for the Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) Nov. 26, was originally scheduled Oct. 29 at Belmont Park. Inclement weather forced a postponement, a good thing for Calibrachoa. He would likely have been scratched if the race had gone off as scheduled.

Calibrachoa, racing as part of a Repole/Pletcher entry with Caixa Eletronica, was sent off at 11-10 odds in a field of six. He defeated Sangaree by 2 3/4 lengths with his stablemate finishing third, a neck behind the runner-up. The final time was a solid 1:21.32.

“With the way he ran today, he might go a mile with the way he sat off that pace," said Whit Beckman, Pletcher's assistant. "I don’t know what Mr. Repole’s intentions will be, but the way he ran today gave no indication he wouldn’t at least be competitive.”

Bred by Nelson Bunker Hunt in Kentucky, Calibrachoa's career mark now stands at 8-3-3 in 17 starts with earnings of $431,040. The dark bay/brown colt is out of Fort Lauderdale, by Montbrook.

Second choice Rule by Night  wrested the early lead from Calibrachoa on the inside and led that one under pressure through an opening quarter-mile of :22.69 and a half in :45.25. Calibrachoa, always close to the leader while carrying co-top weight of 119 pounds, challenged on the turn and raced head-and-head through the lane before getting a slight advantage near the eighth pole. He pulled away under a brisk hand ride from Lezcano.

“He broke real good," Lezcano said. "I waited until the quarter pole and when I asked, he gave me a very good kick and won the race."

Sangaree, with Rajiv Maragh aboard, closed from third on the outside and held off Caixa Eletronica and John Velazquez for the place spot. Rule by Night faded to fourth, followed by Flat Bold and Justin Phillip , the only 3-year-old in the field.

Calibrachoa won the Gravesend, Toboggan (gr. III), and Tom Fool Handicap (gr. III) consecutively at Aqueduct over the winter and spring after he was claimed from Hunt and trainer Steve Asmussen. His winning streak was stopped with a third-place finish in the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont, followed by another third in the A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in August. He was off for nearly two months before returning in the Vosburgh.

The winner paid $4.20, $2.30, $2.10 and topped an $18.60 exacta. Godolphin Stable's 6-year-old Sangaree returned $4.50 and $3.80. Caixa Eletronica, third in the Vosburgh, was $2.10 to show as part of the entry.

Beckman said Caixa Eletronica was hindered by being trapped inside and figures to improve with the added distance of the Cigar Mile.

J J's Lucky Train scratched.