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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017
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Shackleford Drills Carter Bullet

Shackleford top story

Three of the headliners for the Grade 1, $400,000 Carter Handicap on April 7 put in their final works this weekend, with Shackleford and Jackson Bend training in Florida, and Calibrachoa gearing up at Belmont Park.

 

Last year’s Preakness champion Shackleford fired a bullet at Gulfstream Park on Sunday morning, going four furlongs in 47.20.

 

The Carter will be Shackleford’s second start of the year, following a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on February 11 at Gulfstream Park.

 

Shackleford closed out his ambitious 2011 campaign with a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs. He hasn’t run in a seven-furlong race since breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs on November 27, 2010.

 

Just up the road from Gulfstream, Jackson Bend put in a bullet of his own on Saturday at the Palm Meadows Training Center, breezing four furlongs in 48.33.

 

“It was a terrific work,” said Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, by telephone. “I was happy with him. He went very nice, very even. He’s such a professional, such a tough little guy. I think everyone roots for him.”

 

Jackson Bend boasts a Grade 1 win at the seven-furlong Carter distance, earned last summer in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Forego, which he won by 3 ¼ lengths.

 

With Shackleford, Emcee, and Tahitian Warrior all expected for the Carter, it appears that the late running duo of Jackson Bend and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse will have plenty of pace to chase this coming Saturday.

 

Mike Repole’s Calibrachoa, a six-time stakes winner at Aqueduct, is set for the Carter after posting a 50.52 four-furlong breeze on the Belmont Park training track on Sunday.

 

[Calibrachoa] went in 50 and a fifth, out in 1:02 and four,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “Pretty routine for him. He worked in company with Dan and Sheila. [It’s] up in the air as to where [Dan and Sheila] will start next. Both horses worked well.”

 

For the second straight year, Calibrachoa swept Aqueduct’s graded inner-track stakes for sprinters, taking the Grade 3 Toboggan on February 4 and Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap on March 3. In three Grade 1 starts, he was third in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga Race Course, fifth in the Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont, and third in the Cigar Mile Handicap.

 

 

 

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