02/11/2012 12:02PM

Oaklawn Park: Caleb's Posse sharp in five-furlong work

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark.– Caleb’s Posse turned in his most serious work since winning the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on a chilly Saturday morning at Oaklawn Park, breezing five furlongs in 59.60 seconds. He is scheduled to make his seasonal debut March 3 in the Grade 3, $200,000 Tom Fool at Aqueduct.

Caleb’s Posse worked by himself, on a clear and windy 28-degree morning in Hot Springs. He came out shortly before 10 a.m., and backtracked to the three-sixteenths pole under jockey Luis Quinonez, accompanied by a pony ridden by his trainer, Donnie Von Hemel.

“We were waiting for the sun to hit as much as it could,” Von Hemel said. “We went a little later in the day, wanted to make sure the clods were gone.”

Caleb’s Posse went into his work at the 4 1/2-furlong pole, and proceeded to cover his opening eighth of a mile in 12.20 seconds, according to fractions provided by Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton. Caleb’s Posse, working on a fast track, continued through an opening quarter in 24.20 seconds, three furlongs in 36.60, and a half-mile in 48.

Caleb’s Posse bounded home, working past the wire to the 7 1/2-furlong pole. Quinonez sat chilly, with Caleb’s Posse galloping out six furlongs in 1:14. Caleb’s Posse’s work was the fastest of 29 at the distance Saturday.

“I thought everything went according to plan,” Von Hemel said. “I wanted him to finish up the last quarter. I was very, very happy with the work.”

Rajiv Maragh, who guided Caleb’s Posse to a four-length win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, has the mount in the Tom Fool. The race could be Caleb’s Posse’s springboard to the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter at Aqueduct on April 7. Caleb’s Posse was a finalist for both champion 3-year-old and champion sprinter of 2011.