McNeill Stables and Cheyenne Stable’s Caleb's Posse cut back in distance off seven straight distance races and blew past his opponents in the stretch to win the Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) at Saratoga Aug. 1.
Racing at 6 1/2 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 after a half-mile 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,” Maragh said. “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.”
Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Caleb’s Posse, the highest price on the board at 12-1, returned $27.60 to win. The final time for the Amsterdam, restricted to 3-year-olds, was 1:15.88.
A son of grade II-winning sprinter Posse, Caleb’s Posse has won three races in 2011, having previously captured the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January and the Ohio Derby (gr. III) at Thistledown June 4. He came into the Amsterdam off a fourth in the Iowa Derby (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino June 25.
The last time Caleb’s Posse ran in a sprint, he won the Clevor Trevor at Remington Park in November 2010. Clevor Trevor, second to Easy Goer in the 1989 Travers Stakes (gr. I), was the last horse Von Hemel 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,” Von Hemel said. “It turned out that maybe we should have been sprinting before now.”
Bred in Kentucky by McNeill, Caleb’s Posse is out of the Slewacide mare Abbey’s Missy. 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 Foxwoods King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 27, Travers Day.
“That’s a discussion we’ll have to have with the ownership,” Von Hemel said. “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.”