With confidence that he wanted to do more, trainer Donnie Von Hemel and jockey Eddie Razo Jr. were content with an "under control" five-furlong workout by dual stakes scorer CALEB'S POSSE (Posse) Friday morning over Oaklawn Park's fast dirt. They feel there's plenty of gas left in the tank for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in eight days.
"He went nice and steady," Razo said shortly after breezing the Rebel S. (G2) runner-up in 1:02. "He's ready for action and was waiting for my hands to do something, but he stayed relaxed."
Oaklawn clockers tracked Caleb's Posse through fractions of :11 4/5 for the first furlong, :24 1/5 for a quarter-mile, :37 4/5 around the far turn and :49 2/5 to the quarter-pole. The colt then turned into a headwind, driving to the wire in 1:02 and kept his energy level strong once Razo eased into a gallop, finishing up through six furlongs in 1:14 2/5.
"You could tell he wanted to do more -- that it was there if he had to," Von Hemel said. "The headwind might have made the time seem a little slow in the lane, but the main thing with a work like that is their frame of mind. He's fit because he's been training all spring. It is more about his mind at this point."
Von Hemel has pronounced Caleb's Posse an overachiever as he prepares for his ninth career start and the longest of his career in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby.
He ended his two-year-old campaign with a disappointing seventh-place run in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park, but proved it was the track and not the distance that stymied him when he started his sophomore season by winning the Smarty Jones S., also at a mile, at Oaklawn.
The bay colt had a horrible trip in the Southwest S. (G3) in February but showed guts with a second-place finish in the Rebel behind the front-running The Factor (War Front).
"He is getting stronger and he's maturing," Razo said. "He likes the track and the way he travels in the mornings tells me he has what it takes for big races like next Saturday."