Updated on 10/31/2011 7:31AM

Breeders' Cup: Caleb's Posse bound for Dirt Mile

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Caleb’s Posse, shown working at Keeneland earlier this month, prefers one-turn races at seven furlongs, which makes the Dirt Mile a good option for him.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -  While a great deal of the focus of Sunday morning’s activity at Churchill Downs centered around Uncle Mo, the last horse to beat last year’s 2-year-old champion continues to fly under the radar.

 Caleb’s Posse, who beat Uncle Mo by a nose in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop at Saratoga in August, completed preparations for a start in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by working four furlongs in 48 seconds Sunday morning over Churchill’s main track. Working by himself under exercise rider David Contreras, Caleb’s Posse got his final quarter in 23.77 seconds while galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.83.

 “I was very pleased with his work,’’ trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. “He finished well down the lane, came back on his toes and recovered real quick. We’re ready to enter tomorrow.’’

 Caleb’s Posse was pre-entered for both the Dirt Mile and the Sprint, at six furlongs. Sunday night, after a conference call with his owners, Von Hemel confirmed that Caleb’s Posse would be pre-entered in the Dirt Mile on Monday.

Both races are run around one turn and Caleb’s Posse is 5 for 6 in races run around one turn.

Caleb’s Posse will enter the Breeders’ Cup off a third-place finish in the Indiana Derby, a race run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles.

“I wasn’t shocked that we were third in there,’’ Von Hemel. “That’s kind of the way he’s been running in those [two-turn] races.’’

Caleb’s Posse finished fourth in the Iowa Derby, a two-turn race, before winning the Amsterdam Stakes, a one-turn race run at 6 1/2 furlongs, by four lengths at Saratoga. While the King’s Bishop was a decidedly more difficult race, Caleb’s Posse was able to outfinish Uncle Mo, who did lose a shoe in the race.

 “They were saying Uncle Mo was ready to run, but I still think if we were going to try and tackle a horse like that his first race back is the time to do it,’’ Von Hemel said.  “Going into it, I think we would have been thrilled to have been on the board in a race of that caliber. I thought Uncle Mo and my horse both ran great races. We got lucky in the photo.’’

 Though Uncle Mo was pre-entered for the Dirt Mile and the Classic he is going to run in the Classic. In fact, nine of the 16 horses pre-entered in the Mile were pre-entered in other races, including The Factor, whose trainer, Bob Baffert, wasn’t expected to confirm his 3-year-old’s race of choice - Dirt Mile or Sprint - until Monday when final entries are due.

 Other Dirt Mile candidates who worked on Sunday at Churchill were Rule and Irrefutable. Rule worked in company with Stay Thirsty and was credited with a final time of 1:01.20 while being outfinished by his younger stablemate.

 “I thought his work was okay,’’ Pletcher said of Rule. “You’ll see some horses as they get a little older, a little more mature, they know the difference between the morning and the afternoon. I think he’s wise to that a little bit. I thought he worked satisfactory, it wasn’t exceptional. He kind of knows when game time is.’’

 Irrefutable, runner-up in the Grade 1 Ancient Title, worked four furlongs in 47.60 seconds Sunday at Churchill, getting his final three furlongs in 35.51 seconds, while switching to his left lead late in the work.

 Others confirmed for the Mile are Jersey Town, Shackleford, Tapizar, Tres Borrachos, Trappe Shot, and Wilburn.

 The connections of Jackson Bend have yet to decide between the Mile and the Sprint, but appeared to be leaning toward the latter.