Just a few days short of a year since he began his 3-year-old campaign that may result in an Eclipse Award, Caleb's Posse returned to the work tab Jan. 12 at Oaklawn Park.
Owned by Cheyenne Stables and McNeil Stables, the now 4-year-old stretched his legs with a three-furlong breeze in :36 4/5 for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel in his first move of the year.
It was on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year when Caleb’s Posse won the Smarty Jones Stakes, signaling his quality and starting a season that yielded grade I wins in the King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Those wins have the son of Posse up for champion 3-year-old male and champion sprinter at the Eclipse Awards Jan. 16.
“He got around there pretty good and he’s on his toes this morning,” said Von Hemel. “That wasn’t much for him. The track was in good shape and he went really nice.”
Von Hemel envisions a return trip to New York this spring for the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park. The races in between to get there are up in the air, though Von Hemel would like to stay in sprint events.
“We will see what we have to do to get there, but I’d like to stay at one turn if we can,” he said.
Caleb’s Posse was versatile enough to win the Smarty Jones and the Ohio Derby (gr. III) last year around two turns. The Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn during April’s Racing Festival of the South is one race Von Hemel will consider.