Click above to watch Shackleford winning the Preakness Stakes (G1)
(Image : Lehighvalleylive - Footage : CNBC)
21 May 2011
Shackleford (Forestry) got caught in the final jump of the GI Florida Derby and was in front a lot longer than many expected before running fourth in the GI Kentucky Derby, but he held on all the way to take Saturday’s GI Preakness Stakes at Pimlico by a half-length.
GI Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux) closed ground in the stretch to be second, but the weary yet determined Shackleford fought on gamely to give his connections their first Classic success.
Shackleford, 17-1 in his career opener at Keeneland last October, ran to his odds, finishing ninth after showing brief speed on the Polytrack. The flashy chestnut was 25-1 when unveiled on the Churchill main track the following month, but the result was much different, as he battled to a 3/4- length victory. He opened 2011 with a decisive two-turn allowance score at Gulfstream Park February 5, earning himself a ticket to the GII Fountain of Youth Stakes 23 days later, but his first foray into the graded ranks did not go well. Finding himself off the pace, the homebred showed little down the lane and finished a distant fifth.
The handicappers had little faith in the colt after that performance, and Shackleford was 68-1 in the April 3 GI Florida Derby, but he outran his odds by a mile. In front through a half in :46 1/5 and six furlongs in 1:10 3/5, he had two lengths on the field at the eighth pole, but just couldn’t quite hold off Dialed In (Mineshaft), losing by a head.
The fractions were decidedly softer in the May 7 GI Kentucky Derby; the 3-year-old got away with a half in :48 3/5 and six panels in 1:13 2/5, and it looked like he might go all the way. But that last furlong proved his undoing, and Shackleford faded to fourth on the first Saturday in May.
It was a different story two weeks later. Off at 12-1 - his lowest odds since his allowance score at 9-2 - Shackleford broke sharply, but allowed Flashpoint (Pomeroy) to take a narrow lead into the first turn. The two ripped off an opening quarter in :22.69, but slowed it down after that, going the second quarter in :24.18 and the third in :25.14. Flashpoint gave in before they’d completed a mile in 1:37.22, and it was Shackleford in front as they hit the lane. Astrology (A.P. Indy) tried to make a run at him from the rail, but could only get to his heels. The effort was taking its toll, and Shackleford was labouring as Animal Kingdom came at him, shifting back to his left lead as they approached the wire. But he found one last gasp of energy to hold off the Kentucky Derby winner at the wire.
“I’ve won some big races, but none as exciting as that one,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He was a little hot, but he wasn’t acting that bad, and it’s a hot day. It didn’t take much out of him. I was more concerned if he was going to hang on. The pace was fast, but he kind of pulled everyone else out of the race. He has a high cruising speed. We weren’t worried about slowing it down as much as getting him into a good rhythmic pace and let him keep on going.”Also enjoying his first taste of Classic champagne, jockey Jesus Castanon added, “I felt somebody coming at the sixteenth pole. I knew that Animal Kingdom was the only horse who was able to come get me.” Shackleford will be pointed for the June 11 GI Belmont Stakes.
PREAKNESS STAKES 136
MUCHO MACHO MAN
Badge Of Silver
ISN’T HE PERFECT
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News