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Breeders Cup 2015

Alternation Completes Jim Dandy Work

Pin Oak Stable’s Alternation turned in his final timed workout for next Saturday’s Jim Dandy, breezing five furlongs on the main track under Ramon Dominguez in 1:01.78.


“I thought he went well this morning,” said trainer Donnie Von Hemel. “He finished real good down the lane and Ramon was happy, said he was good and smooth and everything is set for next weekend.”


Winner of the Grade 2 Peter Pan at Belmont Park on May 14, the Distorted Humor colt was briefly considered for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Stakes, but his connections ultimately decided against running back in the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion.”


“It was one of those things where we had to decide did we want to try the Belmont or just back off it and come and try a couple of races here, and we chose the latter,” said Von Hemel. “He got here on Monday and we might let him gallop out or something before the race, but that’s probably the last work.”


Alternation has been a regular on the worktab at Arlington Park, his home track, since the Peter Pan, turning in works ranging in distance from a half-mile to seven-eighths.


“The fact that we haven’t run since May we knew we had to give him a little bit more in the mornings,” Von Hemel explained. “We backed off after the Peter Pan and let him relax for a couple of weeks. We then got back in business and put some in company works and some longer distances just to make sure we had everything ready to go.”


Alternation will not be Von Hemel’s only starter at Saratoga next weekend – the trainer also plans to send out Caleb’s Posse in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam on Monday, August 1. The Posse colt was most recently fourth in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby following a win in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby and a 12th-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby


“He just got crunched [in the Arkansas Derby],” said Von Hemel. “It wasn’t right at the start, but it was within the first hundred yards and he just got kind of spit out the back. He never put in much of a run that day, so we decided to give him a little breather after that race and went for the Ohio Derby and Iowa Derby, which he ran all right in, but the rest of the year the races are a mile and an eighth, mostly, so we decided to start sprinting him again. We’ll see how we do in the Amsterdam.”


Caleb’s Posse has four wins at distances of a mile or less, including a 5 ½-length score in the seven-furlong Clever Trevor Stakes at Remington Park in November. That race was named for the last horse to bring Von Hemel to Saratoga, an Oklahoma-bred who finished second in the 1989 Travers behind Easy Goer and came back two years later to run third in the 1991 Forego.


“I haven’t been here in about 20 years,” Von Hemel recalled. “Clever Trevor ran huge in the Travers, but he just wasn’t quite good enough that day. He came back and finished third a couple years later in the Forego and that’s been the extent of my Saratoga.”




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