Updated on 06/09/2012 7:27PM

Belmont Park: Caixa Eletronica comes from rear to win True North Handicap

Barbara D. Livingston
Caixa Eletronica (left) runs down Justin Phillip to score by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 2 True North Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. - At the three-eighths pole of Saturday's $400,000 True North at Belmont Park, trainer Todd Pletcher admitted even he was a little worried his Caixa Eletronica had fallen too far off the leaders to possibly win the Grade 2 dash. But when the torrid pace finally took its toll in deep stretch, Caixa Eletronica became the major beneficiary, charging down the center of the course to register a three-quarter-length victory over a game but weary Justin Phillip.

The six-furlong True North was marred when Giant Ryan suffered a fractured sesamoid and ligament damage in his left front ankle after forcing the hot pace to the eighth pole. According to Dr. Larry Bramlage, orthopedic surgeon and on-call veterinarian for the Belmont Stakes, Giant Ryan, will be taken to the University of Pennsylvania to have surgery on his injured ankle to try and save him as a stallion.

Caixa Eletronica, winner of the $1 million Charles Town Classic going 1 1/8-mile on April 14, came into the True North on less than two weeks rest after having run fourth in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28.

As expected, the pace was a hot one, with Pacific Ocean showing the way from along the rail while pressed by Giant Ryan through early fractions of 21.80 seconds and 44.58 seconds. Justin Phillip, who attended the leaders from the second flight along with Crossbow, ranged up three wide to challenge for command into the stretch, forged clear inside the sixteenth pole, but could not withstand the winner's explosive late run.

Caixa Eletronica dropped far back during the early going, saved ground on the turn but still had a dozen lengths to make up once turning for home. Jockey Javier Castellano eased Caixa Eletronica out to launch his rally once settled into the stretch, after which he finished full of run while remaining on his left lead to snatch victory away from Justin Phillip in the final strides.

Smiling Tiger rallied belatedly to finish another three parts of a length further back in third.

Caixa Eletronica, a 7-year-old son of Aroomanches owned by Mike Repole, completed the distance in 1:09.52 and paid  $9.20 as the tepid favorite.

"The plan was to settle off what figured to be a very fast pace and make one run, but at the three-eighths pole I thought he might had laid off too far. He must have still been 15 lengths back," said Pletcher. "But Javier did a great job saving ground on the turn, and he was running so fast at the end he didn't care what lead he was on."

Pletcher said he has many options for Caixa Eletronica, "everything from six furlongs to a mile and one quarter", while mentioning the 1 1/8-mile Suburban on July 7  as a possibility for his next start.