Caixa Eletronica Dead After Head-On Collision at Belmont Training Track

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Caixa Eletronica, winner of the 2012 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct Caixa Eletronica, winner of the 2012 Fall Highweight at Aqueduct

Caixa Eletronica, a popular four-time graded stakes winner, died as the result of injuries he suffered in a training accident at approximately 8 a.m. on Saturday at Belmont Park.

The 9-year-old was galloping on the training track when he collided with another horse, Six Drivers, who was running loose after having unseated his rider behind the starting gate. Caixa Eletronica suffered a skull fracture in the incident, with Six Drivers suffering a neck fracture. Both horses died immediately as a result of their injuries, according to Dr. Anthony Verderosa, chief examining veterinarian for The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA).

Caixa Eletronica hit his best stride after he was claimed by trainer Todd Pletcher for $62,500 on behalf of owner Mike Repole in 2011. With Repole and Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica won seven stakes, including the 2011 Grade 3 Westchester, 2012 Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, 2012 Grade 2 True North Handicap, and 2012 Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap.

“It’s a terrible day for racing,” said Repole. “For any horse, it’s horrible. When you hear it’s Caixa Eletronica, it’s magnified.”

Pletcher, who was at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, commented on the loss. “He’s a barn favorite. Like I’ve said time and time again, to me he was everything that was good about the game,” Pletcher said. “You take a horse from a modest beginning and literally get to the pinnacle of racing. He showed up every time. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Overall, Caixa Eletronica was 23-9-11 in 69 starts, with more than $1.8 million in earnings. In his final start, the chestnut son of Arromanches was fourth in the 2013 Grade 3 Fall Highweight on November 28 at Aqueduct Racetrack.

“He was such an iron horse,” said Repole. “For him to pass away like this makes no sense. I told Todd, ‘If this horse ever gets a pimple on his rear, I’ll retire him.’ Todd said, ‘I wish my 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds were super sound like this horse.’”

Caixa Eletronica’s exercise rider, Carlos Castro, was taken to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. for evaluation. Six Drivers’ rider, Julio Pezua, suffered no apparent injuries.

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  • Tinky

    A head-on collision and both horses had riders? How the heck did that happen?

    Obviously very sad news in any case.

    • Karen Tracy

      DRF reported Six Drivers unseated his rider near the gate and went running in the wrong direction, hence the impact with CE.

      • dave

        Same thing happened to only winner of NY Big Apple Triple, TIN CUP CHALICE.

      • Tinky

        Thanks Karen.

  • Knowitall

    What awful news. Condolences to Pletcher barn, fans, and most of all to Mike Repole – I believe Caixa is his favorite horse.

    • Knowitall

      Didn’t mean to make it sound like only one horse mattered. Peace to Six Drivers.

  • carols

    :( I weep for both of them, but especially the old warrior. He was a special one, may he R.I.P.

  • PugetSound

    The rider of Six Drivers was dropped at the gate, I believe. Six Drivers was loose when he collided with Caixa Electronica. Terrible thing to happen, for everyone.

  • Knowitall

    Just wanted to note that for all the “greed” that too readily gets noted too often in this sport, Repole was going to ultimately retire Caixa to Old Friends to be a pet, not a regional stallion standing for a couple thousand somewhere unknown. Thanks for letting him race on Mike.

    • Knowitall

      Found this in Mike’s PR pop quiz from a few months ago. Says it all:

      Who’s your favorite horse who never won Horse of the Year?
      “Caixa Electronica – the coolest and funniest horse that I own and will ever own.”

  • princessspiro

    Everyone will say accidents happen, how sad. But I wrote months ago that it was time to retire this horse before something tragic happened. Some owners and trainers continue to push the envelope and risk the lives of the horses under their care because they are still sound? Good intentions are not enough if they are made too late. My motto always has been quit while you are ahead. Thank goodness Richard’s Kid’s owner retired him in time. I am terribly sorry for his loss, and by the way it is 10 degrees in Ny and the ground is frozen. I am certain everyone else will throw stones at me for this comment, but I am tired of reading about horses dying for so many reasons that are reasoned away.

  • Marilyn Lee

    A tragic accident…how very sad.

  • Patricia Jones

    a tragic accident too sad for all

  • Sue M. Chapman

    I’ve been advised by a rider coming off the track that Julio Pezua was the rider on Chris Englehart’s horse who dropped him by the gate and ran off In The Wrong Direction. The gate on the training track is on the outside fence in a small chute where the horses break from the outside and drop over to the inside. Caixa Electronica was galloping in the right direction, between the 3/4 and 5/8 poles when the riderless horse collided with him head on. Carlos Castro had no way of knowing in which direction to swerve to avoid the oncoming horse.

    • k

      sorry but after 20 yrs on track when there is a loose horse on the track you pull up and turn in the direction the loose horse is going you dont keep galloping hence the sirens and flashing lights at all tracks

      • Sue M. Chapman

        Agreed, but if CE was minding his business between the 3/4 and 5/8 pole, and the filly got loose between the 5/8 and 1/2 mile pole, that gave Carlos Castro barely 1/8 mile to react – if he ever saw the loose horse. When the siren goes on, you still have to assess where the problem is on the track. It was literally in CE’s face.

        • Beach

          I don’t mean you, Sue, but I don’t think this is the place for Monday-morning quarterbacking from the masses. You are obviously reporting on what you know. I imagine any jockey or exercise rider KNOWS to avoid this kind of thing at all costs, lest he/she lose his/her life too and/or that of the horse. IMHO, this probably happened way too fast for anyone to do anything to avoid it. Heartbroken too… :/

          • Bouie

            I was involved in a similar accident at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. A horse back-tracking bolted toward the inside. I was galloping in the middle of the track. I saw the horse coming & tried desperately to alter course. The rider on the other horse was trying just as hard to regain control. We both failed, the horses collided and both had to euthanized. Accidents can happen, anywhere, anytime. Unless you’ve been in that type of situation, you really can not imagine anything.

          • Beach

            Just for the record, “imagining” and “doing” are dissimilar. What I have done above is actually reinforced your point. I am well aware that doing everything you can to avoid collision is not foolproof or any guarantee–and sadly, sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, it still happens.

      • Lexington 4

        Sorry “but after 20 yrs on track” you should know better than to just assume what happened unless you were an actual eye witness.

        Have you been a talker the whole 20 years?

      • Tonto

        First you have to figure out where the problem is at 35 mph you don’t have much time to react. Was on the track at Los Alimitos when Sea Dragon was hit from behind by a breezing horse
        All we heard was ‘clear the track’

  • Mimi Hunter

    Condolences. Prayers, and Wishes for Six Drivers, Ciaxa Eletronica, and all their connections. A sad day for both barns.

  • Beach

    A freak accident–Oh, God–My heart just breaks, and also breaks for everyone else, especially those who cared for these 2 horses. The BIGGEST thoughts and prayers…

    • Beach

      PLEASE also keep Caixa’s exercise rider in your prayers and thoughts(and his family)–according to DRF he has a fractured pelvis and will need some form of facial reconstruction. “Pain” would not even begin to describe all that, and what the “repairs” will take.

      And condolences again–I couldn’t even tell my husband about this one without crying today. It’s heartbreaking. This sport is surely not for the faint of heart. Prayers again…

  • Concerned Observer

    This was a horse for the masses, the little guys, for the sport. Truely from modest beginnings, his Daddy stands in Indiana at a price anyone can afford. This horse, climbed the ladder from claiming ranks to graded stakes, rags to riches, and just kept on giving us thrills. This was the the kind of horse millions can dream of owning. As they say, “A great horse can come from anywhere” and that is what keeps so many people in the sport.. The fans and the sport will miss him.

  • DinkyDiva

    So tragic in every way! I loved this guy. At least he didn’t suffer! Rip CE and Six drivers!

  • Robb

    I saw him in the 2012 True North, and he was just made that amazing run in the last quarter-mile to grab the win at the wire. Such a solid iron horse who could win at 6-9 furlongs at his peak. What a horrible way to lose him.

  • rachel

    very, very sad all the way around…the big guy with 69 starts and only 9 years old never getting to live the easy life…
    …six drivers only a baby who didn’t even have all his adult teeth….

  • Lexington 4

    Very sad news. Thoughts and prayers with all of the connections and fans.

  • racingjustice

    Sad to hear this horrible news… prayers goes out to the excersise rider that was injured badly and will need facial reconstruction. .. Let’s see if owner mike repole will take care of him like he should. .. Broken pelvis as well is going to be a very long recovery time. . With all the money repole has , and not to mention that this was his favorite horse, which I’m sure this rider had been the long time rider of him… I would think the not only right thing to do but the classy, honorable , and heart full thing to do would give him a very nice financial care package so to speak. . But that’s just one man’s opinion. Or maybe it’s not . Thoughts anybody?

  • 4Bellwether666

    Caixa Eletronica was one Hell of a race Horse!!!…May the “Old Man” and “Six Drivers” rest in a better place…

  • notforslaughter

    Condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.

  • cbs1234

    An absolute tragedy for all concerned. With all due respect I submit that perhaps Caixa Electronica be buried at Old Friends, since he was purportedly to be retired there. He represented the best that racing has to offer and it would be a fitting tribute.

  • Tonto

    So sad for all concerned but where was the outrider ? If a starter is being schooled at the gate she has a problem or she wouldn’t be there. so prudence would dictate you wait until the track is cleared.

  • Convene

    Moment to moment, you just never know, do you! Life can be gone in an instant. This is a terrible tragedy – for both horses and their connections. Caixa Electronica was such a gutsy ol’ horse who gave his best always and was almost on his way to what would have been a great second career as someone’s baby. So very sad.

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