10/22/2011 11:09AM

Keeneland: Caleb's Posse works toward Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Caleb’s Posse works six furlongs in 1:13.20 on Polytrack at Keeneland on Saturday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Caleb’s Posse was foremost among the Saturday morning workers at Keeneland Race Course when going six furlongs in 1:13.20 over Polytrack.

“We were pleased,” said trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, who said he is “leaning toward” running Caleb’s Posse in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile as opposed to the BC Sprint. “Today, we planned on this being a pretty good work, and he obliged.”

Von Hemel said the 3-year-old colt will ship Friday to Churchill Downs in Louisville for final preparations.

Meanwhile, 80 miles down the road at Churchill, clockers were swamped by morning activity following several days of inclement weather. Among the BC workers over a fast track were Drosselmeyer (Classic), five furlongs in 1:01.20; Shackleford (Dirt Mile), five furlongs in 1:03.80; Dullahan (Juvenile), five furlongs in 1:03.60; Tar Heel Mom (Filly and Mare Sprint), four furlongs in 49.40 seconds; and Putthebabiesdown (Juvenile Fillies), four furlongs in 48.60.

Dullahan was working for the first time since he upset the Oct. 8 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland at 17-1.

“I know he went slow, but it was just a maintenance work, something to keep his fitness,” trainer Dale Romans said. “Same with Shackleford.”

Tar Heel Mom, a 6-year-old mare owned by Alex Rankin, likely punched her BC ticket with her work, said trainer Stan Hough, who monitored the move from New York. Hough and Rankin have been on the fence since Tar Heel Mom ran poorly as the favorite last month in the Gallant Bloom at Belmont.

“They said she struggled a little bit over the track, but overall it was decent and she came back good,” Hough said. “We’re planning on running her. I’ll be in there next week.”

In addition to the BC hopefuls, dozens of 2-year-olds were out for Saturday work in preparation for the “Stars of Tomorrow” card that opens the Churchill meet next Sunday, Oct. 30. In all, clockers caught 143 workers Saturday morning at Churchill. Turf works begin Monday.

Pletcher having slow Keeneland meet

Despite having a full barn of runners at Churchill, trainer Todd Pletcher has been conspicuously quiet at the Keeneland meet, winning with 1 of just 10 starters going into the last few days of action.

“We had a large number of starts at Saratoga, so the timing has a lot to do with it,” said longtime Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy. “We’ll be pretty active starting opening day at Churchill. We’ll be busy with the Breeders’ Cup, including the supporting stakes, and with quite a few of our 2-year-olds. Maybe we’ll get lucky with a horse for the [Kentucky] Jockey Club and pick up a little buzz for when we head to Florida.”

Leparoux goes 5 for 10 on card
Julien Leparoux put more distance between himself and the other Keeneland jockeys by winning with 5 of his 10 mounts here Friday, giving him a meet-leading 22 winners here this fall. Leparoux became the first jockey to win five on a Keeneland card since Jon Court did it on Oct. 28, 2000. A meet title for Leparoux would be the seventh he has won or shared here.

The Keeneland record for most wins in a day is jointly held by Randy Romero and Craig Perret, who each won six on separate cards at the 1990 spring meet.