08/28/2013 3:48PM

Saratoga: Saginaw, Caixa Eletronica square off Friday

Tom Keyser
Saginaw has won 15 of 18 starts since being claimed by trainer David Jacobson in March 2012. He’s won five straight heading into Friday’s race.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Between them, they’ve won 43 races and earned more than $2.7 million, but in 106 combined starts, the paths of New York-bred sprint champion Saginaw and graded stakes winner Caixa Eletronica have never crossed.

On Friday, the two popular veterans finally will get an opportunity to meet in a seven-furlong starter-allowance, optional-claiming race that also drew 15-time winner Bernie the Maestro.

Saginaw has been a win machine for trainer David Jacobson since he claimed the son of Peruvian for $30,000 at Aqueduct on March 8, 2012. Saginaw has prevailed in 15 of his 18 starts since then and is riding a five-race winning streak that includes a successful defense of his title in the John Morrissey Stakes for New York-breds here Aug. 1.

“I knew for a while about this race and that it was put on for both Saginaw and Caixa Eletronica, so it’s no surprise that Todd’s horse is in there, too,” Jacobson said, referring to Todd Pletcher, who trains Caixa Eletronica. “I’m looking forward to meeting his horse, and I think a tip of the hat should go to racing secretary P.J. Campo for being creative and making this possible, since not too many guys with starter-allowance horses want to run against Todd’s horse, and not too many want to run against mine.”

Campo helped make the match between the two horses happen by writing conditions that require Saginaw and Caixa Eletronica to each tote 130 pounds in the race, conceding 14 pounds to the rest of the field. Saginaw carried the same impost to victory, but just barely, when nosing out Private Tale under similar conditions May 12.

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“This kind of thing reminds me of the handicap races they used to run back in the old days,” Jacobson said. “As long as I’m at equal weights with the other horse, I don’t mind, although I am concerned about the big spread back to the others. But I hope I’m always the highweight in these types of races because that means I’ve got a horse that’s been doing real well.”

Jacobson blew Saginaw out an easy three furlongs in 39.88 seconds here Wednesday.

“This race was an extra; I wasn’t 100 percent prepared for it, so he wasn’t quite in his normal training routine,” Jacobson said. “But blowing him out 48 hours before a race is something we’ve done with him before, and he’s won off of that in the past.”

Caixa Eletronica won a pair of starter optional claimers as the odds-on favorite this summer before being outrun while stepping up to Grade 1 company for the first time in nearly a year in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap. Caixa Eletronica, who was claimed for $16,000 early in his career, was haltered for $62,500 by Pletcher in the name of owner Mike Repole at Gulfstream Park in March 2011. His biggest payday came during the spring of 2012, when he captured the $1 million Charles Town Classic.

Caixa Eletronica, who carried 133 pounds to victory in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight last November, will break just inside of Saginaw from post 1 on Friday.

“I don’t think the inside post should be too much of a disadvantage, considering our horse’s running style,” Pletcher said.

Private Tale has been outrun against stakes competition and high-priced optional-claiming and allowance company since extending Saginaw to a close decision in May.

Bernie the Maestro had won four straight starter-allowance races before being beaten a nose in a game effort here Aug. 12.