Shackleford held off a hard-charging Caleb's Posse by a nose in a dramatic Met Mile victory.
2011 Preakness winner Shackleford, last seen winning the G2 Churchill Downs Handicap on Kentucky Derby day, continued his winning 4-year-old campaign in a deep field in the G1 Met Mile that included G1 Carter Handicap winner Jackson Bend, G1 Cigar Mile winner To Honor and Serve, G2 Charles Town Classic winner Caixia Electronica, and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb's Posse. Listed stakes winner Saginaw, looking to continue a 6-win streak, was also in for good measure.
Shackleford took the lead at the break, with Jackson Bend making an unusual early move to join him. To Honor and Serve rated just behind, with Caxia Electronica in fourth, Saginaw fifth. Caleb's Posse, as usual, was last in the early stages of the race.
On the turn, Saginaw and Caixia Electronia made outside moves, but Shackleford just shook them off as he powered into the stretch. Then, Caleb's Posse unleashed his powerful closing kick, inmhaling the field and catching Shackleford in deep stretch. The two battled stride-for-stride in the final furlong, but it was a game Shackleford who prevailed by a nose.
Shackleford was ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Dale Romans.
“He broke so good, so I didn’t have to do much, and he was
doing it easy,” said John Velazquez. “Even as they were chasing
him, he was in hand the whole way and that’s what I liked about him.
Because he was doing it so easy, I didn’t have to rush him.”
“I saw the shadow [of Caleb’s Posse] coming so I had to go
real far out to get him,” Velazquez added. “I was wondering if
somebody was in between and was thinking if nobody was there I was going to go
straight out, and that’s what made me win, because when I came out, he
put up a fight. [He dug back in] big time.”