06/04/2011 6:50PM

Thistledown: Caleb's Posse captures Ohio Derby


Caleb’s Posse came through as the favorite Saturday when rolling past longshot Marco’s Fling to capture the 77th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown in the Cleveland suburb of North Randall, Ohio.

With Eddie Razo aboard for trainer Donnie Von Hemel, Caleb’s Posse returned $6.20 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.12 over a fast track.

Marco’s Fling, a 40-1 shot who led to midstretch under Filmer Munaylla, held second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner. Irish Lion was third at 15-1, while Le Mans, the 5-2 second choice, ran fifth, and Wilkinson, the 7-2 third choice, finished last of nine. Valient Tenobob was an early scratch.

Caleb’s Posse raced near the back while saving ground from post 1 before angling out for his winning drive. A Kentucky-bred by Posse, the colt was bred by Don McNeill, who co-owns him with Cheyenne Stables. Before shipping from Arlington Park to Cleveland, he ran in all four stakes for 3-year-olds at Oaklawn Park this winter, winning the Smarty Jones and finishing second in the Rebel.

“We’re thrilled to death,” said Von Hemel. “He was able to get out of some trouble down the backside. We’re proud of him.”

Von Hemel said the Iowa Derby is the likely next start for Caleb’s Posse, now an earner of $305,804.