03/05/2011 4:53PM

Aqueduct: Calibrachoa captures third straight stakes in Tom Fool

David Alcosser
Former claimer Calibrachoa comes from off the pace under Ramon Dominguez to capture the Tom Fool Handicap.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With an assist from his speedy stablemate Have You Ever, Calibrachoa came flying from well off the pace in the stretch to score an authoritative 4 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct.

Fastus Cactus, a 54-1 longshot, was a shocking off-the-pace second, four lengths ahead of pace,setting Deputy Daney. Dahlgren Chapel, Flat Bold, and Have You Ever completed the order of finish.

It was the third consecutive stakes win for Calibrachoa since owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher claimed him for $40,000 last November from owner Nelson Bunker Hunt and trainer Steve Asmussen. It was the 12th stakes win of the inner track meet for Pletcher, who one race earlier won the Fred “Cappy’’ Capossela with the 3-year-old sprinter Sensational Slam.

Calibrachoa had help from Have You Ever, who was used as a rabbit to keep Deputy Daney honest. Under Victor Santiago, Have You Ever pressed Deputy Daney through fractions of 21.63 seconds and 44.03 for a half-mile. Meanwhile, Ramon Dominguez had Calibrachoa in third, about seven lengths off the pace.

Though Deputy Daney shed Have You Ever turning for home, he had nothing left to fend off Calibrachoa, who made an eye-opening move from above the three-sixteenths pole to inside the eighth pole to grab the lead. Calibrachoa, a 4-year-old son of Southern Image, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.67 and returned $3.10 to win.

“It was Mike’s idea to put another horse in there to make sure we had an honest pace,’’ Pletcher said. “That allowed Ramon to ride him however he saw fit and obviously Ramon sensed they were flying early. He let him settle and the horse relaxed really well even though he was far back. When the fractions are that fast, he was in the right spot.’’

Capossela: Sensational Slam sizzles on dirt

With his celebrity chef owner Bobby Flay in the house, Sensational Slam made a successful 3-year-old and dirt debut Saturday, rallying from last under Dominguez to win the $65,000 Capossela Stakes for 3-year-olds by three-quarters of a length.

Diski Dance, who set the pace, held on for second by a nose over Vengeful Wildcat. Rift, the 6-5 favorite, and Another Silver Oak completed the order of finish

Sensational Slam, a son of Grand Slam that Flay purchased at auction for $240,000, hadn’t run since finishing ninth in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on turf last Sept. 3 at Saratoga. Prior to that, he had won two stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic surface.

Pletcher said he felt Sensational Slam would handle dirt based on how he trained over the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida. Pletcher also felt there would be enough pace in the Capossela to set up Sensational Slam. Sensational Slam was last of five behind fractions of 22.41 seconds and 45.45 set by Diski Dance.

Sensational Slam went three-wide around the turn and into the stretch and responded to Dominguez’s vigorous left-handed stick. Sensational Slam covered furlongs in 1:10.61 and returned $9.10.

“We thought there’d be plenty of pace,’’ Pletcher said. “He’s not a real ambitious horse especially early on; just told Ramon to let him settle and when it came time he needs a little bit of an encouraging ride and he responded well.’’

Broadway: Meese Rocks scores

Meese Rocks dropped back in with New York-breds and returned to the winner’s circle with a front-running, 1 1/2-length victory in the $65,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Big Brownie rallied for second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Lots of Stones, who had her six-race winning streak snapped. Laylaben and Mineralogist completed the order of finish.

It was the ninth win from 22 career starts for Meese Rocks, a 6-year-old daughter of Rock and Roll owned by Harry, Joseph and Jamie Terranova and trained by Eddie Barker.

Under Junior Alvarado, Meese Rocks covered six furlongs in 1:10.62 and returned $3.80 as the favorite.