CHARLES TOWN CLASSIC STAKES | PURSE: $100,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 2 | 1 1/8 MILES
Trainer Todd Pletcher capped a roller-coaster of a day on a high Saturday night when Caixa Eletronica blew past Duke of Mischief in the stretch and drew clear to win the Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic by three lengths.
Duke of Mischief, who won this race last year, finished second by 1 1/4 lengths over Mister Mardi Gras. Tackleberry finished fourth in this race for the second straight year, this time as the 8-5 favorite.
Uh Oh Bango finished fifth and was followed in the order of finish by Pants On Fire, Tres Borrachos, Norvsky, Skipshot, and Redding Colliery.
The win was sixth on the day for Pletcher, who won three races at Aqueduct and two at Keeneland though he did not fare well in stakes races at Keeneland or Oaklawn Park.
"We started off the day good, hit a little bit of a lull but finished up good," Pletcher said Saturday night from south Florida, where he watched all the action on television.
Javier Castellano, who won three races at Keeneland, including two for Pletcher, rode Caixa Eletronica, who was claimed for $62,500 by Mike Repole and Pletcher 13 months ago. Since the claim, Caixa Eletronica has won 5 of 12 starts and earned $820,500.
Overall, Caixa Eletronica, a 7-year-old son of Arromanches, has won 17 races from 52 starts and the $600,000 he earned Saturday pushed his career earnings to $1,142,205.
Caixa Eletronica was coming off a sixth-place finish in the General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 20. Pletcher said the horse came out of that race with a lung infection.
"He needed some time to regroup. We weren't sure where we were going to run him," Pletcher said. "He trained really well, we know he's capable of running some huge races; felt like what the heck take a shot when he's doing well. You could see right from the gate he was in the bridle, liking the track and put himself in a good spot."
Caixa Eletronica broke with the field and was quickly taken back off the pace by Castellano. He raced fifth in between Tackleberry and Tres Borrachos while Pants On Fire and and Skipshot dueled on the lead through fractions of 23.81 seconds for the quarter and 48.00 for the half-mile.
Castellano maintained his position even when Duke of Mischief, last year's Charles Town Classic winner, made a four-wide move to the lead under Joe Bravo entering the third and final turn.
Castellano made sure Caixa Eletronica followed Duke of Mischief around that turn, took over turning into the stretch, and surged to the powerful victory.
Caixa Eletronica, a 7-year-old son of Arronmanches, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.28 and returned $18.80.
"We talked about it before, he's one of those horses he loves the game, he's capable of doing some big stuff when things are right," Pletcher said. "I had a really good feeling as early as the first turn. He was focused, in the bridle, gripping the track. When Joe Bravo made that big move like he did last year, he got a big jump on us. When he went after him he was closing, it was exciting to watch."
Said Castellano: "The horse put me in a good spot early in the race. I was able to stalk into the first turn and into the second turn. When I asked he responded so well today."