06/06/2013 1:15PM

True North sees contrast in styles with Caixa Eletronica, Fast Bullet


ELMONT, N.Y. – Caixa Eletronica and Fast Bullet are as different as two horses can get. About the only thing the two have in common is that they’ll both be in the starting gate for Saturday’s $400,000 True North Handicap at Belmont Park.

The six-furlong True North drew a field of seven speedsters that includes Justin Phillip, who will race coupled in the wagering with Fast Bullet as the Zayat Stables entry. Laurie’s Rocket, Reload, Off the Jak and Sage Valley complete the compact lineup.

The late-running Caixa Eletronica is an old pro, the East Coast-based 8-year-old gelding having already started 62 times with 20 victories under his belt, including a last-to-first triumph in the 2012 True North. The aptly named Fast Bullet, who makes his home in Southern California, has used his abundant speed to capture three of his four lifetime starts, with his lone setback and only previous try against graded-stakes competition resulting in a sixth-place finish in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Caixa Eletronica has not started since finishing a disappointing fifth in defense of his title in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. A former claimer, he rallied from 14 lengths off the lead to outfinish Justin Phillip by a half-length to win last year’s True North. Caixa Eletronica, who banked more than $1.1 for owner Mike Repole in 2012, lost five consecutive starts after his victory in the True North before ending the season with a decisive four-length triumph in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight.

“We’ve got a favorable post position, and hopefully we’ll get a favorable pace scenario where he can kind of sit back and make a run,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “You can ride him a number of different ways, but I think he’s at his very best when you let him settle and make a run like he did in this race last year. He had no excuse in the race at Charles Town. I thought he had a good prep here and trained well into it. He just didn’t fire at all that night, which is kind of strange for him.”

Pletcher was not concerned about the prospect of catching a wet track for the True North.

“I don’t think anything bothers him,” Pletcher said.

Fast Bullet has not started since winning a second-level optional claiming race by 7 1/4 lengths at Hollywood Park on Dec. 6.

“He’s had limited starts,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He’s just had a lot of minor things go wrong, none serious enough to require any surgeries. But he runs hard when he does run and usually comes out firing off a layoff. I worked him six furlongs from the gate last week to sharpen him up a little, but you can only get them so ready. Any time you get a wet track it can change the complexion of a race. He’s never run on a wet track, and you really don’t know how they’re going to handle it until they handle it.”

Justin Phillip took the lead in early stretch of last year’s True North but proved no match for the furious late surge of Caixa Eletronica. He also fell just short of winning the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on a muddy track last summer at Saratoga, when he was beaten a neck by Poseidons Warrior.

Justin Phillip, who closed out his 2012 campaign with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, has won both of his last two starts, including the Grade 3 Count Fleet Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

Off the Jak, whose former stablemate Giant Ryan broke down during the running of this race last spring, should help assure a lively pace on Saturday, along with the red-hot Sage Valley who brings a four-race win streak into the True North.

Dave More than 1 year ago
Fast Bullet. Don't see any of the six horses keeping up with him.
Lenny Mamola More than 1 year ago
Fast Bullet,,,slow work tab...minor injuries...but Baffert ships him?? Don't be fooled he's a fast Machine
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I don't get Fast Bullet's placings. Safe trips to all.
EnthusiastOfAll More than 1 year ago
If the track comes up sloppy, Off the Jak will be very live in this race at long odds. He's struggled over different surfaces and distances but now comes back to his preferred surface and distance. His 104 Beyer over the slop earlier this year at Gulfstream is the second best in the field and his last race indicates he could be moving back towards that form. Especially if speed is holding, look out.
bill More than 1 year ago
Justin Phillips best races have also been over off surfaces
EnthusiastOfAll More than 1 year ago
Sure. But you'll get 15 times the return pn Off the Jak if he hits. Just sayin.
Michael Slezak More than 1 year ago
Caixa Eletronica is not a gelding.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Leave the boys at DRF alone. They don't know that the "h" simply means horse and the horse is not gelded. This is a horse racing site. You cant expect them to know things about horse racing.
Roger More than 1 year ago
I was on the rail at Belmont last year to see this race. By far the most impressive horse of the day was Caixa Eletronica. Looked like the others stopped in their tracks.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
Didn't Giant Ryan go down in this race last year?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Watched the True North in person last year. I thought Caixa Electronica's close to win was one of the most intense ever. Watch the replay.