03/05/2012 4:38PM

Aqueduct: Caleb’s Posse points to rematch with Calibrachoa

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Barbara D. Livingston
Calibrachoa (right) holds off Caleb's Posse to win the Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Donnie Von Hemel didn’t get his picture taken following Saturday’s Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap at Aqueduct, but he was smiling nonetheless over the performance of Caleb’s Posse in his 4-year-old debut and was already looking forward to a rematch with Calibrachoa in the Grade 1 Carter on April 7.

“Despite not winning, I couldn’t be much happier with the performance,” Von Hemel said Monday morning. “It’s a good way to get started for the year.”

In his first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last November, Caleb’s Posse rallied from a dozen lengths back to fall just a neck short of Calibrachoa in the Tom Fool. Calibrachoa, who is now 5 for 5 over the inner track including two straight runnings of the Tom Fool, ran six furlongs in 1:09.07, the fastest six-furlong time of the meet. He earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure, while Caleb’s Posse earned a 110.

The Tom Fool was run at six furlongs, a distance that might be at tad short for Caleb’s Posse. The Carter, contested over Aqueduct’s main track, is run at seven furlongs.

“There are plenty of races at seven and a mile, and we probably won’t have to worry about three-quarters again,” Von Hemel said.

Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse came out of the Tom Fool in good order and was vanned Sunday to owner Everett Dobson’s Candy Meadows Farm in Lexington, Ky. Von Hemel said he would remain there for a few days before returning to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

Whit Beckman, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said Calibrachoa came out of the race in good shape. Owner Mike Repole confirmed Sunday via text that the Carter would be next. Calibrachoa is 2 for 3 over Aqueduct’s main track, including last fall’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap.

Emcee and Capt. Candyman Can, the third- and fourth-place finishers from the Tom Fool, are expected back for the Carter. Shackleford, last year’s Preakness winner, also will be considered for the race, according to trainer Dale Romans.