Updated on 01/08/2014 10:59AM

Belmont Park: Caixa Eletronica killed in training accident

Tom Keyser
Caixa Eletronica, shown winning the Duck Dance Stakes in October, was hit head-on by a loose horse at Belmont Park on Saturday morning.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Caixa Eletronica, a popular graded stakes winner, and Six Drivers, a maiden, suffered fatal injuries when the two horses collided head-on during training hours Saturday morning at Belmont Park.

Six Drivers had unseated his rider, Julio Pezua, near the starting gate on the training track, and went running loose the opposite, or wrong way, when he barreled into Caixa Eletronica, who was galloping near the five-furlong marker.

Carlos Castro, the exercise rider on Caixa Eletronica, was taken to North Shore University Hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis and will require reconstructive surgery on his face, according to Byron Hughes, the assistant to Todd Pletcher, trainer of Caixa Eletronica. Pezua, who said his horse spooked from the starting gate which caused him to rear up, was uninjured.

According to New York Racing Association officials, both horses died instantly. Caixa Eletronica suffered a fractured skull, while Six Drivers, a recent $16,000 claim by trainer Chris Englehart, suffered a fractured neck, according to NYRA.

Mike Repole, who owned Caixa Eletronica since claiming him for $62,500 in March 2011, said he was in shock when told the news this morning by Pletcher, who was at Palm Meadows in south Florida. Pletcher was informed of the incident by Hughes.

“[Pletcher] was as devastated telling me as I was hearing the news,” Repole said. “I’m in shock. For such an iron horse to unfortunately pass away this way really makes no sense.”

Caixa Eletronica, a 9-year-old son of Arromanches, had a record of 23 wins, 9 seconds, and 11 thirds from 69 starts and earned $1,863,505. Since being claimed by Pletcher and Repole nearly three years ago, Caixa Eletronica won 11 races from 29 starts and earned $1,601,800. In 2012, he won the Grade 2, $1 million Charles Town Classic and the Grade 2 True North, a race in which he made up seven lengths in the last eighth of a mile. His other stakes wins included the Grade 3 Westchester in 2011 and the Grade 3 Fall Highweight in 2012. In his last two starts, Caixa Eletronica won the Duck Dance Stakes at Belmont in October before finishing fourth in the Fall Highweight at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving.

Caixa Eletronica, who was scratched out of a starter allowance on New Year’s Day because of ineligibility, was pointing to the $100,000 Evening Attire here on Jan. 25, Repole said.

Pletcher, in an interview at Gulfstream after he won the Old Hat Stakes with Sweet Whiskey, called the loss of Caixa Eletronica “heartbreaking.”

“He’s a barn favorite,” Pletcher said. “Like I’ve said time and time again, to me he was everything that was good about the game. You take a horse from a modest beginning and literally get to the pinnacle of racing. He showed up every time.”

Repole said he had considered retiring Caixa Eletronica at the end of both his 7- and 8-year-old seasons, but the horse was sound and seemed to enjoy running and training so much that he kept him going. Repole said he turned down offers from farms in Indiana, Oklahoma, and overseas to stand the horse as a stallion. Repole said his plan was to retire the horse to Old Friends in Saratoga.

“Growing up in Queens these are the horses that I fell in love with, not the Saturday horses, but the Wednesday and Thursday horses,” Repole said. “Caixa was that type of horse that turned into a special horse.”

** Following Sunday’s card, Aqueduct will be dark for three straight days before starting a Thursday-through-Monday schedule.

sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
Watch his 2012 True North. One of the best races I have seen.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
ITA. It's when I took notice of him. So sad, that's also the same race that took Giant Ryan.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
VERY sad on many levels.i posted here last time he ran that this horse deserved a chance at stud because of his toughness gameness and out cross pedegree.unfortunately this son of another tough as nails racehorse ARROMANCHES will go into the ground as opposed to stud.Now MR Repole can say he considered retiring the horse and that CAIXA ELECTRONICA which ironically means A.T.M in Portuguese wanted to run and that somehow he was doing the horse a favor.now i understand this was a freak accident that could have happened anywhere but it did not it happened on a racetrack during training to a 9 year old who had already put in almost 70 starts and won 23 times and earned $1.6 million.one wonders why this horse was not at stud as opposed to being squeezed dry on the winter circuit of n.y. as a 9 year old.This kind of greed is exactly why our racing industry will not prosper had CAIXA been by AP INDY or a more fashionable sire he would have been whisked of to stud even if he had not raced more than a couple of times.but because he was by ARROMANCHES out of a SKIP AWAY mare he had to race well past his prime and continue until he could no longer collect a check when would he be retired to stud? he was not a gelding or would MRRepole have him go full circle from promising young horse to claimer to gr1 performer back down to cheap claimer or death on the track.unfortunately we know what happened the latter .in my last post about this horse i made the point that he should be retired on merit and because his form was finally showing signs of decline and i wrote that should something happen to him it would be a great loss to breeding.now that it has happened i would like to add that it also a stain on his connections no 9 year old horse should be on a winter schedule in n.y. after accomplishing what he did especially one that earned millions and was not a gelding.
Leana Willaford More than 1 year ago
What about the other horse that died? No compassion for him, the 16k maiden claimer? I personally saw Caixa train nearly every day here in Ny and you know what? He was a sound horse that loved what he was doing. It's horrible but would it be less horrible if it was another cheap claimer that the loose horse collided with and killed? Not if you truly love and admire race horses. FREAK ACCIDENT nothing more.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
anytime an animal dies its sad especially a creature such as a racehorse.but like you said it was a freak accident.thats not the point the point is that CAIXA ELECTRONICA should not have been there.had already paid his dues he was old his form had declined he had earned his way to a stud career and he was cheated out of it .not only by fate but indirectly by his connections.
Matt Romo More than 1 year ago
I don't know what you think gives you the right to say that? The guy is a millionaire a couple more 60% takes on 100k' wins isn't what he was worried about nor was it entirely his call. Pletcher I'm sure felt strongly about the horse staying on the track and the call was much more his than Repole's. You're looking for a finger to point for something that was a freak accident.
Howard Schwartz More than 1 year ago
It was not greed it was love of the horse. Mr. Repole ad Pletcher would never do anything but right by any horse. I,m sure their hearts are broken.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
really what do you call running a 9 yo with 69 races and 23 wins and 1,6 million in earnings in n.y in the winter at aqueduct.after he clearly had lost a step.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
You are right, Ray.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Wow. I was wondering why he was in training after hearing he'd been retired. Very disappointed but sad for the connections. Losing Caixa in such horrific fashion bothers me terribly. Every horse lost in a freak accident is tragic, even tho the loss of the greats in retirement is just as sad.
Mary Marshall Valair More than 1 year ago
Ray I think you are totally correct that if this great horse were out of AP Indy he would have been retired long ago. As it is he was probably the most successful progeny of a great "blue collar" racer Arromanches who had a great long career before retirement. We can only hope that their decision to keep running him was not based on greed but on the fact that they were letting him continue to do what he loved to do. However it is a shame that others are not similarly allowed to do what they love to do because they have a more desirable pedigree and their value rests more in the breeding shed than on the oval.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
This is so sad. He was a warrior - a true runner who tried his best...
Aaron Hanka More than 1 year ago
Very sorry to hear this
Nicole Proulx More than 1 year ago
Does anyone know where he will be buried?
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
I wondered if he was to be cremated and ashes scattered over the Belmont track. This is just so sad I feel terrible for Mr. Repole, He seems to be such a nice man and genuine when it comes to his horses.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
such a tragic thing to happen! God Bless all affected by this! so sad!
Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
The connections of this horse really did not have to continue racing him after all was he not a stallion prospect?
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Yes. Excellent breeding.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
God bless you, Caixa. You have always been one of my favorites. What a tragic event for everyone, human and equine. You will be missed.
nick More than 1 year ago
Ok, since I haven't seen it yet, I'll be the party pooper and ask the $64,000 question; why isnt there a warning system at the track to let people know when a horse gets loose? A siren could be sounded and workouts/jogging/exercising could cease until the errant horse is reined in? One would think that while this might not be an everyday occurance(a horse getting loose, not a horse dying) it probably happen relatively often, and HOW LONG has horse racing been going on?
nick More than 1 year ago
RIp, Caixa. You kicked my butt a couple times, but I enjoyed watching your races.
st regan More than 1 year ago
There already is.
Dr LGH More than 1 year ago
Yes, Nick, this system of flashing lights and sirens has been used as long as PA systems have been available. As soon as the loose horse siren goes off, we all pull up our horses as quickly as possible and no horses enter the track if they're not already on it until the situation is controlled. With several hundred horses training out there any given moment, however, it is not possible to simply cease all movement in the matter of seconds it takes for a loose horse to barrel around the turn. It's a very tragic accident that we do all we can to prevent. I pray now that Carlos Castro will heal quickly as possible with no long-term effects.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
you guys are heroes in my book. Exercising horses and being a jockey takes a lot of guts. I hope Mr. Castro will be ok.
nick More than 1 year ago
Much obliged, sir/ma'am. It is just so sad, in general, regardless of the quality of the horses lost; any horse lost is tragic. And whether it is or not, it just seems that something like this type of accident should be preventable. We lose enough of them to racing and training injuries, something like this is above and beyond the call of duty.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
they said on tv the riders didnt have serious injury but it sounds pretty bad to me according to the article. man what a freak accident