03/01/2012 4:16PM

Aqueduct: Caleb's Posse prepping for Carter in Tom Fool

Tom Keyser
Caleb's Posse, with Rajiv Maragh up, wins the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Caleb’s Posse will likely be favored when he makes his 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool Handicap over Aqueduct’s inner track, but trainer Donnie Von Hemel makes no bones that he’s using this as a prep race for the Grade 1 Carter over the main track on April 7.

“I realize they’re on two different racetracks, but the Carter is the race we had in mind,” Von Hemel said earlier this week from Oaklawn Park. “We needed to get a race we knew was going to go. It’s a graded stakes with a good purse. We know we have to move him twice, but this will give us a little practice going to Aqueduct.”

The Tom Fool will be Caleb’s Posse’s first start since he won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. It was the third victory in one-turn races for Caleb’s Posse since Von Hemel decided to cut him back in distance last summer.

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At Saratoga, Caleb’s Posse won the Grade 2 Amsterdam going 6 1/2 furlongs and edged Uncle Mo by a nose in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at seven-eighths.

The Tom Fool is run at six furlongs. Caleb’s Posse won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Arlington in his second start as a 2-year-old.

Von Hemel said he is simply looking for “a good closing effort” from Caleb’s Posse in the Tom Fool. Under Rajiv Maragh, Caleb’s Posse figures to settle back in last and make a run. He should benefit from what is expected to a very lively pace.

Royal Currier and Emcee are very fast. Royal Currier, who set a track record winning the Gallant Bob last September at Parx, has returned to the Northeast after running third in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream on Jan. 28. In with 115 pounds, he gets seven pounds from Caleb’s Posse.

Emcee will be making his stakes debut after winning his career debut last September at Belmont and a first-level maiden race at Gulfstream last month. Emcee, a son of Unbridled’s Song owned by Godolphin Racing, was scheduled to go to Dubai, but got sick while in quarantine and couldn’t make the trip.

Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Emcee, believes he has a “serious horse” who has the talent to fit with this group that includes defending Tom Fool winner Calibrachoa and the Grade 1 winner Capt. Candyman Can.

“We think he is that caliber,” McLaughlin said. “Lack of experience is a bit of a concern, but he’s fast enough and he’s in with 114 pounds.”

There is a forecast for inclement weather, and the prospect of a wet track and a fast pace would benefit Capt. Candyman Can. The 6-year-old gelding is 3 for 3 over wet surfaces, with all three wins coming in stakes, including the Grade 1 King’s Bishop in which he was elevated to first via disqualification.

Calibrachoa is 4 for 4 over the inner track, including a 4 1/2-length victory in this race last year. He comes in off a dominant score in the Toboggan, but he is 0 for 4 on wet tracks.

Justin Phillip will likely be the longest shot on the board, but he did win the Grade 2 Woody Stephens over a sloppy Belmont main track last summer.

Tom Fool H. (G3), Post Time: 4:34 ET Saturday

Purse: $200,000; 6 furlongs





ML Odds


Capt. Candyman Can

I. Wilkes

E. Prado



Royal Currier

P. Farro

R. Dominguez



Justin Phillip

S. Asmussen

E. Trujillo




K. McLaughlin

J. Velazquez




T. Pletcher

C. Velasquez



Caleb's Posse

D. Von Hemel

R. Maragh