Owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher, all set for next weekend's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with standouts Stay Thirsty and Uncle Mo , have another dynamic duo entered in the $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park Oct. 29.
Caixa Eletronica and Calibrachoa, racing as a coupled entry, are the 119-pound high weights in the seven furlong main-track event. A strong field of nine, including graded stakes-winning 3-year-olds J J's Lucky Train and Justin Phillip , was entered for the Bold Ruler. It is race 9 on the Belmont program with a 5:18 p.m. EDT post.
The Saturday Belmont program was also supposed to include the Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares, but the race did not fill.
According to a late word from Repole, Calibrachoa is unlikley to run in the Bold Ruler. The entry, however, is listed as the favorite at 5-2 on the morning line.
Caixa Eletronica, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Arromanches, was third in the Vosburgh Invitational (gr. I) in his last start over a muddy Belmont strip Oct. 1. Calibrachoa ran fifth in the same race. Caixa Eletronica, who won consecutive races at Saratoga prior to the Vosburgh, also captured the one-mile Westchester Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont in April.
Claimed for $62,500 in March, Caixa Eletronica has won five races from 10 starts in 2011.
“He closed a lot of ground (in the Vosburgh),” said Whit Beckman, assistant to Pletcher. “It wasn’t the quickest pace you had ever seen, but he’s an unbelievable horse, coming from where he came from to where he is now.”
Calibrachoa won back-to-back grade III stakes on the inner track at Aqueduct earlier this year and posted third-place finishes in both the True North Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont and Saratoga's Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. I) prior to the Vosburgh. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Southern Image colt is seeking his first victory at Belmont.
John Velazquez, who was aboard Caixa Eletronica in each of his last three wins, will guide the chestnut from post 3. Jose Lezcano takes over on Calbrachoa, who drew post 4.
Zayat Stables' Justin Phillip ran away with the Woody Stephens (gr. II) by 3 1/4 lengths on a muddy track at Belmont in June, but has lost three in a row since then. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of First Samurai was sixth last time in the Vosburgh, his first try against older horses. Alan Garcia rides for the first time.
Asmussen also entered Gold Square's Rule by Night, an overnight stakes winner at Belmont Oct. 9 over 6 1/2 furlongs. The 4-year-old by Malibu Moon drew the far outside post and has Corey Nakatani along for the first time.
Also worth considering on the distance cut-back is 6-year-old Rodman, fourth in the 10-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) Oct. 1. Trained by Michael Hushion for Barry K. Schwartz, Rodman is two-for-four with one second at seven furlongs and has the services of Ramon Dominguez.
Hushion is considering the Bold Ruler as a tune-up for the Cigar Mile (gr. I) Nov. 26 at Aqueduct.
“I saw the Cigar Mile on the calendar,” said Hushion in deciding to have Rodman cut back in distance. “Some of the Breeders’ Cup horses probably won’t make it, although typically they do. I thought we could get this in him or have him breeze five times in between, so the decision was to try this. If you are a mile horse, what’s wrong with seven eighths?
"Being 6 years old, he knows what it’s all about and he doesn’t worry about it. And he’s a horse I’d rather run than train a lot.”
Rodman’s record at Belmont includes a second-place finish in the Met Mile (gr. I) at 36-1 and a third in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II) in June.
J J's Lucky Train, winner of the Miracle Wood and Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) consecutively in the spring, shortens up for trainer William Anderson following a sixth-pace showing in the one-mile Smarty Jones at Parx Racing Sept. 5. Fresh Start Stable's son of Silver Train ran fourth in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) prior to that.
Godolphin's Sangaree was scratched from the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) Oct. 1 with a cough and the 6-year-old will be making his first start since finishing a close second in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 4. On his best day, the Awesome Again offspring is certainly capable. He posted three straight runner-up finishes at Hollywood Park last year: the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (gr. II), the Californian (gr. II), and the Triple Bend Handicap (gr. I).
Fantasy Lane Stable's Uptowncharlybrown returned to action following a four-month layoff with a second-place finish to Tapizar in a Belmont allowance event going seven furlongs Oct. 8.
$100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 5:18 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Uptowncharlybrown (KY), P Lopez, 113, E J Coletti Sr.
2. Flat Bold (KY), C H Velasquez, 114, R R Rodriguez
3. a-Caixa Eletronica (KY), J R Velazquez, 119, T A Pletcher
4. a-Calibrachoa (KY), J Lezcano, 119, T A Pletcher
5. Rodman (KY), R A Dominguez, 117, M E Hushion
6. J J's Lucky Train (KY), J C Ferrer, 114, W D Anderson
7. Justin Phillip (KY), A Garcia 114, S M Asmussen
8. Sangaree (KY), R Maragh, 117, S bin Suroor
9. Rule by Night (KY), C S Nakatani, 115, S M Asmussen
a-Repole Stable Entry