Part of a coupled entry that went off as the 2-5 favorite, the Repole Stable representative bobbled at the start but recovered to track Diski Dance through fractions of 23.35 and 46.07. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez set down Calibrachoa inside the quarter pole, and the dark bay passed Diski Dance with a furlong remaining before going on to a 2 ¼-length decision. Caixa Eletronica, coupled in the wagering with the winner, was third.
Calibrachoa completed six furlongs in 1:09.47 and returned $2.90 for a $2 wager.
The 2012 Toboggan was Calibrachoa’s first start since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap on November 26. It was his fourth Grade 3 stakes victory at the Big A, having also taken the 2011 Tom Fool Handicap in March and Bold Ruler in November in addition to his two Toboggan scores. Overall, he is 4-for-4 on the inner track and 2-for-3 on the main track at Aqueduct.
Knowing Calibrachoa’s affinity for Aqueduct, winning trainer Todd Pletcher said the 5-year-old could resurface in the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap on March 3, Gotham Stakes Day.
“He’s so good at Aqueduct we have to look at [the Tom Fool],” said Pletcher.
Calibrachoa, who was bred in Kentucky by Nelson Bunker Hunt, is 9-3-4 from 19 starts. His lifetime earnings stand at $546,040 after receiving $90,000 for his 2012 Toboggan victory.
“He loves Aqueduct,” added winning owner Mike Repole. “But he’s run well at Belmont and run well at Saratoga. You guys know how much I like New York, so we keep him here.”
Pletcher added that Caixa Eletronica remains under consideration for the Grade 2 General George Handicap on February 20 at Laurel Park.
Candyman E was fourth, followed home by Flat Bold, Rule by Night, and Dr Disco. J J’s Lucky Train was scratched.