03/03/2011 5:43PM

Calibrachoa assured hot pace in Tom Fool Handicap


OZONE PARK, N.Y. − Not that he probably needs it, but Calibrachoa will have a little help from one of his friends when he seeks his third straight stakes victory in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct.

In two starts since being claimed for $40,000 by owner Mike Repole and trainer Todd Pletcher, Calibrachoa has come from off the pace to win. To ensure Calibrachoa will have a target in the Tom Fool, Repole and Pletcher will start Have You Ever, a speedy 5-year-old gelding whom Repole and Pletcher claimed for $50,000 in January.

“We will put Have You Ever on the lead,” Pletcher said. “We didn’t want anybody getting loose. We wanted to make sure it’s an honestly run race and let Calibrachoa be able to run the race he wants to run.”

The pace should indeed be hot with Deputy Daney − a multiple stakes winner over the inner track − and Fastus Cactus, the pacesetter in the Toboggan, drawn in the one and two slots, just inside of Have You Ever. Calibrachoa, the 119-pound highweight will break from post 6 under Ramon Dominguez.

Flat Bold is an upset threat. A 5-year-old gelded son of Flatter, Flat Bold took advantage of a strong early pace to win a third-level allowance race over the inner track Jan. 28. The horse he beat by one length that day, Be Bullish, came back to win the Hollie Hughes for New York-breds Feb. 21.

Flat Bold, trained by Tom Albertrani, will break from post 5 under Eddie Castro and will be in receipt of five pounds from Calibrachoa.

Dahlgren Chapel, a New York-bred who beat open company last out, was a late supplement to the field.

With only five betting interests, the Tom Fool will go as race 5 (2:52 p.m. Eastern).

Vengeful Wildcat returns in Capossela

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. shipped Vengeful Wildcat to south Florida with the idea of bringing the stakes-winning 2-year-old back in a sprint stakes at Gulfstream Park. But when he was not ready to make the Spectacular Bid in early January, Perkins began targeting the $65,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela, a six-furlong race over Aqueduct’s inner track.

Vengeful Wildcat, who won the Tyro last summer at Monmouth, heads a five-horse field entered for the Capossela, which will go as race 4 (2:52 p.m.) on the 11-race card.

Vengeful Wildcat hasn’t been out since running second in the Grade 3 Sapling to Madman Diaries on Sept. 4. In that race, Vengeful Wildcat stumbled badly at the start and lost a shoe, but Perkins said he still thought Vengeful Wildcat was going to win the race.

“He was right behind the speed, and at the three-eighths pole, quarter pole he looked like a dead-on winner,” Perkins said. “Through the lane he switched leads, then switched back, and he hung a little bit. He came back a little tender, and we saw he had only three shoes.”

Perkins said he just couldn’t get Vengeful Wildcat ready for the Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream and didn’t want to run him seven furlongs in the Hutcheson off the layoff. Carlos Marquez rides Vengeful Wildcat from post 5.

Sensational Slam ships up from Florida for his 3-year-old debut. He began his career with two stakes wins over the synthetic surface at Woodbine before running ninth in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on turf Sept 3 at Saratoga.

He has trained well enough on dirt to make trainer Todd Pletcher hopeful he can handle that surface.

“He’s never sprinted on the dirt before, so we’ll see how that goes,” said Pletcher, who will also start longshot Another Silver Oak. “He showed he could run well first time out. Hopefully, the layoff won’t bother him. The only reason we took him to Woodbine was he was Canadian-bred, and we wanted to take advantage of that.”

Rift, who has gone 2 for 3 over the inner track, is another with a chance. Diski Dance was beaten a nose in the Dancing Count Stakes at Laurel last out.

Meese Rocks gets one more before break

Trainer Eddie Barker was hoping Meese Rocks could win the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel last month, then go off for a nice vacation until the summer. But the New York-bred mare finished fourth, beaten 10 lengths in what Barker labeled “a non-effort.”

Hoping to send Meese Rocks out on a winning note, Barker has entered her back in Saturday’s $65,000 Broadway Stakes for New York-breds, and she looks like the one to catch and beat.

“She didn’t run in the Barbara Fritchie at all,” Barker said. “It must have been because of that track. She didn’t get a hold of it. She cut herself behind a little bit, but that’s because she couldn’t get a hold of it.”

Meese Rocks is a three-time winner over the inner track. She finished fifth in this race last year, though Barker said she emerged from last year’s Broadway with a 102-degree temperature.

Lots of Stones brings a six-race winning streak into the Broadway, her stakes debut. Trainer Bruce Levine fears Meese Rocks being the lone speed.

“She looks like she’ll be on the lead,” Levine said. “I’ll try to sit second. I’d rather have a target. I don’t know if I want Meese Rocks as a target.”

Big Brownie, Mineralogist, and Laylaben complete the field for the Broadway, which will go as race 3 (1:56 p.m.).