01/17/2011 7:31PM

Caleb's Posse has no problem with Smarty Jones distance

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Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Caleb's Posse rallies top win the Smarty Jones under Eddie Razo Jr.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Caleb’s Posse faced the distance question heading into the $100,000 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park on Monday and he answered it emphatically when he burst through the fog to win the one-mile race by 2 3/4 lengths over Dreaminofthewin. It was another five lengths back in third to Bluegrass Bull.

Caleb’s Posse ($10.40) posted his first two-turn win in the Smarty Jones. He came into the race off a rare off-the-board finish in the $250,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 11. He was making his first start at two turns in that race, and finished seventh as the 4-5 favorite.

But on Monday, Caleb’s Posse ran to the promise he had shown in using a powerful stretch run to take the $100,000 Clever Trevor at seven furlongs at Remington Park in November. After sitting behind a four-way pace duel among Grant Jack, Archarcharch, Bonaroo, and Bluegrass Bull in the Smarty Jones, he overtook those foes under jockey Eddie Razo Jr. Caleb’s Posse went on to win in 1:43.07, over a track rated good. The race ended at the first wire, or the sixteenth pole, as with all one-mile races at Oaklawn.

Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Caleb’s Posse, said the win answered some distance questions for the horse, who is a son of the sprinter Posse.

“It did as far as a mile, mile and a sixteenth,” he said Monday.

Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse will come under serious consideration for the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest at a mile at Oaklawn on Feb. 21. He said the horse would also be nominated to the Grade 2, $300,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 19, although he is “leaning towards” the Southwest.

Don McNeill owns Caleb’s Posse, who has now won 4 of 7 starts and $182,470.

Overnight rains in Hot Springs gave way to foggy conditions for much of the card Monday. Oaklawn drew 12,460 patrons to what was part of its extended opening weekend. It had lost its opening-day card on Friday to a snowstorm. Racing resumes on Thursday.