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Caleb's Posse Cruises in Amsterdam

Caleb’s Posse, cutting back in distance off seven straight route races, blew past his opponents in the stretch to win the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam on Monday at Saratoga Race Course.


Cutting back to 6 ½ furlongs in the Amsterdam off a pair of 1 1/16-mile races, Caleb’s Posse trailed the field of seven under jockey Rajiv Maragh through an opening quarter-mile of 22.45, advanced into fifth along the inside behind a half in 45.01, and came wide into the lane to shoot past his opponents and prevail by a widening four lengths. Redeemed nipped Wine Police by a neck for second.


“It seemed like there was some speed in the race,” said Maragh. “My horse is definitely a closer; I was just hoping not to get disconnected early and have enough late to run. I didn’t want to stop his momentum at all. I felt like I had a lot of horse and I just didn’t want to get impeded by any means, so I took him to the clear and he kicked home really strong.”


Caleb’s Posse, the highest price on the board at 12-1, returned $27.60 for a $2 win wager. The final time for the Amsterdam, restricted to 3-year-olds, was 1:15.88.


A son of Grade 2-winning sprinter Posse, Caleb’s Posse has now won three starts in 2011, having previously captured the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park in January and the Grade 3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 4. He made one start between the Ohio Derby and the Amsterdam, having finished fourth in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows on June 25.


The last time Caleb’s Posse ran in a sprint, he won the Clevor Trevor at Remington Park in November. Coincidentally, Clevor Trevor, second to Easy Goer in the 1989 Travers, was the last horse winning trainer Donnie Von Hemel had brought to Saratoga prior to this year.


“If you looked at his races last year, [Caleb’s Posse] was a capable sprinter that we were stretching out because of the opportunities the 3-year-olds have through the spring,” said Von Hemel. “It turned out that maybe we should have been sprinting before now.”


Caleb’s Posse was bred in Kentucky by Don C. McNeill, whose McNeill Stables owns the colt in partnership with Cheyenne Stables. The sophomore boasts a record of 6-2-1 from 13 starts, with the $90,000 winner’s share of the Amsterdam purse lifting his earnings to $408,304.


Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse could make his next start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Foxwoods King’s Bishop at seven furlongs on August 27, Travers Day.


“That’s a discussion we’ll have to have with the ownership,” said Von Hemel. “It looks like it will be a little tough for him in that group also, but with the way he performed today maybe he can handle that, too.”


The order of finish was completed by Justin Phillip, favored Arch Traveler, To Honor and Serve, and Travelin Man. 




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