Making his first start for Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher after being claimed for $62,500, Caixa Eletronica pulled a 10-1 upset in the $100,000 Westchester Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) April 30 at Belmont Park.
Caixa Eletronica was plucked out of a March 9 optional claimer at Gulfstream Park from trainer Dubis Chaparro, a one-mile race he won by a neck. The new connections wasted no time getting him back into graded stakes company and it paid off.
It was the first stakes win for the 6-year-old son of Arromanches—Edyta, by Skip Away. He was bred in Kentucky by Richard Rowan.
With Cornelio Velasquez aboard, Caixa Eletronica stalked a fast pace set by Pletcher’s other starter, Christmas for Liam, and grade I winner Haynesfield, who was making his season debut. Those two dueled through a :22.34 opening quarter and Christmas for Liam was still in front after a sizzling :44.72 half-mile.
Sitting just off the leaders all the while, Caixa Eletronica advanced on the turn, took over just beyond the quarter pole, and put away a tiring Christmas for Liam at the top of the stretch. He was never seriously challenged in the final furlong, going on to win by three lengths. Convocation rallied well to get second under Alan Garcia.
The final time for one mile on the fast dirt was 1:34.26. Schoolyard Dreams, sent off at 35-1, closed from last to nip 4-5 favorite Haynesfield by a neck. Christmas for Liam trailed.
“I had a good trip," Velasquez said. "My horse broke on the lead, but the number six (Christmas for Liam) went out to the lead and I stayed behind the speed. I had a lot of horse; the last three-sixteenths, when I asked him, I had a lot of horse. This horse has changed a lot; he’s a very nice horse.”
Caixa Eletronica won for the third time in five starts this season. He also scored a one-mile optional claimer at Gulfstream in January, and was third in theGulfstream Park Sprint Championship (gr. II) in February. The chestnut horse was fourth in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) last year in his only previous start at Belmont.
The winner upped his record to 13-7-7 from 41 starts and has earned $321,705.
“Regardless of the pace scenario, we felt if he just sat and made one run it was going to be conducive to his racing style," said Pletcher's assistant, Jonathon Thomas. "You would have to consider the Met Mile (grade I, May 30, Belmont). He’s a real generous horse and it seems like you can do whatever you need to do with him. Cornelio gave him a great ride and he ran beautifully.”
Haynesfield was making his first start since finishing second in the Nov. 27 Hill 'N' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I). He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and Suburban Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont and was five for six at his home track before the Westchester.
“We just had an awful set-up," said Haynesfield's rider, Ramon Dominguez. "My horse broke sharply, but the horse on the outside (Christmas for Liam) had more speed. I was doing everything under my full power when I realized I couldn’t match strides with the horse on the outside. I wasn’t able to get him back, as he was too fresh.”
Caixa Eletronica paid $22, $7, and $7.40. The exacta (2-1) returned $88.50 and the trifecta (2-1-3) was worth $527.
Soaring Empire was scratched.