06/11/2012 4:14PM

Arlington: Caleb's Posse getting a breather

Tom Keyser
Caleb's Posse will likely race at Saratoga and Santa Anita later this year.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – If you happen to be passing Candy Meadows Farm near Lexington, Ky., and see a powerful-looking bay horse deeply brooding in a paddock, that’s probably Caleb’s Posse. American’s toughest-luck horse of 2012 is getting some rest and relaxation at Candy Meadows Farm before gearing up for a second half of a racing season that probably will include starts at Saratoga and Santa Anita. His connections most certainly hope it goes somewhat differently than the first half.

If horses know frustration, Caleb’s Posse must be burning with it during this down time. He began his season with a neck defeat in the Tom Fool Handicap on March 3, a race in which he closed almost five lengths from the stretch call to the finish. The April 7 Carter was void of early speed, but Caleb’s Posse still rallied furiously to finish second by a nose to Jackson Bend, passing third-place Shackleford in the process. May 28 might have been the toughest loss: Closing from the back of the field on a track favoring inside speed, Caleb’s Posse surged alongside Shackleford in the final strides of the Metropolitan Handicap, but again came up a nose short.

“You try and step back and try and take an objective look at it,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said of his own perspective on the string of difficult defeats. “He just has run so well each time this year. I thought speed was so much the best the day of the Met, and for him to make a run like he did, to get that close. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a horse turn in a losing effort that was so good.”

Von Hemel said that no specific racing schedule has been plotted for Caleb’s Posse, though he mentioned the Forego at Saratoga, where Caleb’s Posse won two stakes last summer, as one goal. Longer-term, a decision must be made on whether Caleb’s Posse seeks to defend his Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile title from 2011 or go instead in the BC Sprint. This year’s Dirt Mile at Santa Anita is a two-turn race, compared with the one-turn mile at Churchill last fall.

Another Von Hemel stakes horse, She’s All In, will make her next start in the Delaware Handicap. She’s All In impressively won the Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne in April, but was ineffective racing a one-turn 1 1/16-miles over the same glib Belmont strip as Caleb’s Posse, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Phipps.

“She never really kicked in at all,” Von Hemel said. “We’ll just throw it out and move on to the next spot. The Delaware Handicap at a mile and a quarter, I think that’s really good for her, and I don’t know that you can say that about too many horses.”

Record payout

Arlington’s Jackpot High-5 was hit Sunday, the bet’s $1,115,184.20 return the highest payoff in Arlington history.

The Jackpot High-5 pays out if a single ticket correctly selects the first five finishers in the last race of the day. If there’s more than one correct ticket, half the day’s pool is paid out to the winners, the other half carrying over to the next race day. There had been no unique winner of the Jackpot High-5 during the meet’s first 23 days, leading to the massive carryover on Sunday.

Arlington reported that the winning ticket was solid outside Illinois. The top five finishers in the race, a $5,000 claimer, were Better Make Money (42-1), Dixie Banner (14-1), Milwaukee Wolf (5-2), Dictum (6-1), and Shorty Small (3-1).

Retirement benefit

Galloping Out, a non-profit organization that helps provide care for retired racehorses, will hold a fund-raiser this Saturday, June 16, at Arlington during the Prairie State Festival. Included in the fund-raising activities is a jockey-autograph session before the races begin and a silent auction during a race card featuring six $125,000 stakes for Illinois-breds.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the modern racehorse... three races from the first week of March through the last week of May and he needs to be turned out. This after a five month break after the Breeders Cup.
Arnie More than 1 year ago
I'll be looking for CP to bounce back at Saratoga. Hard to find horses that bring it each time they run. Congratulations to SH5 winner. What a life changer!
Ivan More than 1 year ago
With Mr. Maragh out - CP has a better chance. No offense on Mr. Maragh - he is an excellent jockey...but did you see Mr. Velasquez on Union Rags or Mr. Dominguez on the Manhattan winner? ...check the previous races of those horses and check the last one and you'll see why CP with a change "there" will be "here" at the Winner's Circle in Saratoga!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I like Donnie and I love Caleb but Hersh, I gotta wonder how this bit would read if Matz trained the horse!
Jake VanOort More than 1 year ago
I hope your only kidding. Just because Matz won the Belmont, beating an average bunch of horses?
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
WOW! I know the person who cashed that $1,115,184.20 Jackpot High-5 payout at Arlington Park this weekend is just now recovering for their all-weekend celebration and party! - LOL. I LOVE IT that the horse who won that race was a 42-1 shot named, "Better Make Money"!! - LMAO. Too funny! He most certainly did make money, didn't he? - LOL. That's fabulous!! Congratulations to the person who cashed in the million dollar ticket and congratulations to "Better Make Money" for winning the race going away and making that person's dreams come true!!
Siobhan Allen More than 1 year ago
John Dooleys call of the finish of the race was classic. Better make money at 42 to 1 Better Make Money indeed.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Do you know if he bought the entire field? Only 95,040 combinations in a 12-horse field. Was it a $1 base bet?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
what would be the point? It wasn't a mandatory payout and many Super Hi 5s pay only a few thousand.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I saw a snippet of the race on the evening news, Perl. Better Make Money won the race going away at the end, and the sports anchor mentioned that there was only one ticket that hit the million dollar payout, but there was no mention if it was a $1 base bet. Might be able to find out more info on that by searching the Internet or calling Arlington and seeing if they released any of that information for the press to use, along with the video from the race. I've seen the video in three different venues so far, so that information must be available as well.