Uncle Mo took the lead in the final
furlong, but could not hold off the inexorable charge from Caleb’s Posse,
who got up by a nose to defeat last year’s Champion Two-Year-Old Male by
a nose in the 27th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Foxwoods King’s
Bishop on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Caleb’s Posse raced along the rail as he trailed the field, despite
being hustled by jockey Rajiv Maragh, as the leaders took the field through a half-mile
in 44.92 seconds, as Uncle Mo raced off the pace in fourth.
Caleb’s Posse swung to the far outside at the top of the stretch to
launch his stretch run, gradually gaining on Uncle Mo and forging to the front
in the last stride.
The final time for seven furlongs was 1:21.59, with Caleb’s
Posse, the 5-1 third choice in the field of eight 3-year-olds, returning $13.80
for a $2 win wager.
“I tried to time my run right, and I was fortunate to get up in
time,” said Maragh. “It was close [at the finish]. I felt like I
got it, but you never know, you never can tell. He’s a good horse, he
makes me look good. I think the thing is just letting him find his stride, just
finish strong and let him get the chance to run his race. He comes with a
Owned by McNeill Stables and Cheyenne Stables, Caleb’s Posse had
demonstrated an affinity for the Saratoga main
track when he won his previous start, the Grade 2, 6 ½-furlong Amsterdam, by four lengths
on August 1. He entered the Amsterdam
off a pair of efforts at 1 1/16 miles, winning the Grade 3 Ohio Derby on June 4
and finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby on June 25.
“[Uncle Mo] is certainly the class of the field as a
2-year-old champion and a great horse, by all accounts,” said winning
trainer Donnie Von Hemel. “We’re just proud to be in the same race,
and we’re just thrilled to death for Mr. [Don] McNeill and Mr. [Everett] Dobson.
He’s outperformed his pedigree, every jump of the way.”
Caleb’s Posse’s record now stands at 7-2-1 from 14 starts,
with the $150,000 winner’s share of the Foxwoods King’s Bishop
purse boosting his earnings to $558,304. A son of Posse, he was bred in Kentucky by McNeill.
Mike Repole, owner of even-money favorite Uncle Mo,
was disappointed but philosophical after the race, which was his colt’s
first start since contracting cholangiohepatitis, a liver disorder, following
his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Resorts World New York Casino Wood
Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack in April. Repole would go on to win the
day’s featured race, the Grade 1, $1 million Travers, 32 minutes later
with Stay Thirsty.
“Listen, I want to
win,” said Repole. “I think the horse ran great. He came off a
liver disease and to lose like that, to come back from a five-month layoff and
to beat the speed bias the way he did, by the way – he just came up
John Velazquez, who rode Uncle Mo,
expressed similar sentiments.
“He ran awesome,” said Velazquez. “It was a tough
task to ask him off the bench. I’m just glad to have him back. He was
fighting the whole way around. That’s what I like about him.”
Justin Phillip finished 2 ½ lengths behind
the winner in third, with his stablemate, Dominus, rounding out the superfecta.
Flashpoint, Poseidon’s Warrior, Runflatout, and Cool Blue Red Hot completed
the order of finish.