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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Caleb's Posse Sharp in Latest Drill

Caleb's Posse, ridden by jockey Rajiv Maragh and trained by Donnie Von Hemel wins the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on November 5, 2011.

McNeill Stables and Cheyenne Stables’ Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Caleb’s Posse powerfully returned to the Oaklawn workout sheet Saturday in his first drill since a close runner-up finish in this 4-year-old debut in the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) March 3 in New York.

 

The runner-up in the Rebel Stakes (G2) on this weekend last year was credited with a half-mile in 47 1/5 and a strong unofficial gallop-out according to trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel. Caleb’s Posse is targeting the Carter Handicap (G1) April 7 at seven furlongs back at Aqueduct while stair-stepping in distance toward the Met Mile (G1) at Belmont Memorial Day weekend.

 

“I caught the gallop out in about a minute and change,” said Von Hemel. “He was moving pretty good down the lane. Horses like him just naturally pick it up when they get in the stretch. It becomes a part of the way they do things.”

 

Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse would likely spend another couple weeks in Hot Springs before shipping back East to try and avenge his defeat behind Calibrachoa, an Inner Dirt horse-for-the-course, in the Tom Fool.

 

With several stars in the barn, every weekend is a busy time for Von Hemel and his team, with the latest keyed by the bounce-back win by Z Rockstar in a classy allowance race Friday. Robert Zoellner’s 3-year-old was coming off a sixth-place finish in the second division of the Southwest Stakes (G3) last month. He emerged from the 2 ¼-length score in good order and is now heading toward the $100,000 Northern Spur at a mile on April 14.

 

“It’s a little bit early, but I think he’s a two-turn horse,” said Von Hemel. “I thought it was a powerful race and I think it shows he’s a Northern Spur kind of horse. That race is two turns and a mile to a mile-sixteenth is about what you need to be able to do mostly here in the middle part of the country.”

 

 

 

 

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