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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


SPA OPENER FEATURES JACKSON BEND, CAIXA ELETRONICA IN G3 JAMES MARVIN


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Two of the most popular older horses on The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) circuit will star on Opening Day at Saratoga Race Course when Jackson Bend and Caixa Eletronica take on five other seasoned sprinters in Friday’s Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin.

The James Marvin, the first of 35 graded stakes during the 40-day meet which runs through September 3, shares the 10-race card with the 94th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for 2-year-old fillies.


Jackson Bend was 2-for-2 last summer at the Spa, using his victory in the James Marvin as a stepping stone to his first Grade 1 triumph in the Forego on closing weekend. The 5-year-old son of Hear No Evil, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for Robert LaPenta, this year went on to garner wins in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, and in his most recent start finished fifth behind Shackleford in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

“He’s hanging in there,” said Zito of the diminutive chestnut. “Tough little horse. It was a good race for him last year, start of a comeback. Everything’s good. Hopefully, he gets a good race, and a good break, good trip, and some good luck.”

Jackson Bend, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, will have the services of Rosie Napravnik for the first time in the James Marvin.

Owned by Mike Repole and trainer by Todd Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica was also twice victorious at the Spa last year, taking starter handicaps at six furlongs and 1 1/8 miles. This year, the 7-year-old son of Arromanches is 3-0-1 from six starts, including wins in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic – which made him a millionaire – and the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park last time out.

“Usually I get nervous when my horses run; with him, I’m entertained,” said Repole. “He’s a throwback horse. He can win at any distance, any weather condition. Here’s a horse who ran in $16,000 claimers, and he’s won graded stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles at age 7. He’s the kind of horse that drew me to the game to begin with.”

Having drawn the rail under Javier Castellano, Caixa Eletronica was listed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Making his second start in a graded stakes is Darley Stable’s Crossbow, who was fifth behind Caixa Eletronica in the True North on June 9. The 4-year-old Bernardini colt opened 2012 with a pair of inner-track optional claiming victories at Aqueduct, earning a career-high 104 Beyer Speed Figure on February 9.

At 6-1 on the morning line, Crossbow will leave from post position 4 with Ramon Dominguez aboard.

Rounding out the field for the James Marvin are Golddigger’s Boy, who was fifth to Jackson Bend in last year’s Forego and who most recently was second in the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing on June 23; Pacific Ocean, who led through the opening stages of the True North before fading to finish sixth; Scotus, third in the Opening Verse on the turf at Churchill Downs on June 9 last time out, and Zero Rate Policy, making his Spa debut.

Adding drama to the Schuylerville, the first of seven 2-year-old graded stakes at the Spa, is a new $100,000 bonus awarded by NYRA. Five of the seven fillies entered in the six-furlong race are eligible for the bonus, awarded to any juvenile who broke his or her maiden at Belmont Park or Aqueduct that goes on to win a graded stakes at NYRA track in 2012.

“It’s a great attempt by NYRA to spice up the 2-year-old program,” said Pletcher, who is seeking his fifth Schuyerville victory with Can’t Explain, who is 5-1 on the morning-line after her second-out maiden win on June 20. “It seems like the 2-year-old maiden races filled consistently, and filled sooner. We’re looking forward to the possiblity of earning a bonus, and hopefully Can’t Explain and some of our other 2-year-olds are able to go on and get lucky and earn the bonus.”

Also vying for the bonus will be the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Baby J, who was purchased by Paul Pompa following her victorious debut on June 28; Fully Living, who won on May 3 and the 4-1 third choice on the morning line; Mr Hall’s Opus, a winner on May 2 and 15-1 on the morning line, and Sweet Shirley Mae, a front-running winner on May 9 and the 7-2 second choice.

Completing the field are Brown Eyes Blue, a winner at Churchill Downs on June 30, and So Many Ways, who broke her maiden at Parx on June 9.


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