04/09/2012 3:25PM

Jackson Bend, Caleb's Posse set for rematch in Met Mile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jackson Bend (right) holds off Caleb's Posse to win the Grade 1 Carter Handicap.

If you liked the finish of Saturday’s Grade 1 Carter, then you’ll want to be at Belmont Park on May 28 when Jackson Bend and Caleb’s Posse renew what could be a budding rivalry in the Grade 1 $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap.

Jackson Bend, ridden by Corey Nakatani, held off Caleb’s Posse, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, by a nose in the Carter. Both horses earned Beyer Speed Figures of 109.

Both horses came out of the race in good order, according to their trainers. Nick Zito, trainer of Jackson Bend, said his horse would likely van to Saratoga by the end of the week. Saratoga’s backstretch is scheduled to open Wednesday, and the Oklahoma training track will open Thursday.

“He’s a joy to have around,” Zito said Monday morning. “He’s looking good, he was doing a little dance yesterday in his stall.”

Though Zito said Jackson Bend’s best distance is seven furlongs – he is now 4 for 4 at that distance – he noted that he’s run some good races at a mile. Jackson Bend won the Hal’s Hope earlier this year at a mile and finished second to Uncle Mo in last year’s Kelso at a mile at Belmont.

Caleb’s Posse, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, might be the fastest horse in training who has yet to win a race this year. After losing the Grade 3 Tom Fool by a neck last month, he fell a nose shy of Jackson Bend in the Carter.

“That’s not a distinction I want to have very long,” Von Hemel said.

Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse arrived back at Oaklawn about 6 a.m. Monday after flying from New York to Lexington on Sunday and then vanning the rest of the way.

Von Hemel said Caleb’s Posse will move to Arlington shortly after the Oaklawn meeting ends this weekend.

“I think if all is good the next month or so, the Met Mile will be our next start,” Von Hemel said. “I don’t see anything that would deter me from thinking that way.”

Shackleford who gave way grudgingly when finishing third in the Carter, also is a candidate for the Met Mile.

To Honor and Serve, last year’s Cigar Mile winner, is expected to launch his 4-year-old season in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont on April 28 and then move on to the Met Mile.

On Monday, To Honor and Serve worked four furlongs in 50.20 seconds at the Payson Park training center in Florida.