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.

superdog More than 1 year ago
Good for Nick Zito, and Jackson Bend. We need more Jackson Bends, and Shackelford's. Mr.LaPenta has done a nice job as an owner, by keeping his horses sound, and running. We could use a few more LaPenta's.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
u mean 3yo season for shack?...hes a true G2 r G3 runner & would win more races ...period...
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Sorry, My bad, I meant 3 year old, but I agree he is a very nice horse, but I think they should give him more time off
Rodney Dangerfield More than 1 year ago
Good to see a little rivalry here, I wish we had more of these. Dale please give Shackleford some rest, he had such a hard two year old campaign, and you can tell he's not the same horse.
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
when was he ever a top notch horse?
jstewartwells More than 1 year ago
Really? The horse is a grade 1 winner, grade 1 stakes places multiple times and won over $2 million dollars. You have some pretty tough standards. 99% of horsemen go through their whole lives and never get a horse like that.
superdog More than 1 year ago
Absolutely correct,jstewartwells. Shackelford is a great race horse, whose heart is as big as his rump. He never quits, and-is one tough horse. Good to see him back. I do agree, he could have used a little more time. There are plenty of races for him. Go, Shack.