2011 Preakness winner Shackleford returned to the winners' circle Saturday in the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes after a determined stretch duel with BC Sprint champion Amazombie.
Shackleford was on the pace from the break in the 7 furlongs under jockey Jesus Castanon. The first quarter was a scorcher :21.96, with a half in :44.17, as Calvin Borel and Will's Wildcat and Amazombie, with regular rider Mike Smith, battled with him for the lead. On the turn, it looked like Amazombie would pass the leader, but Shackleford dug in and the two horses slugged it out down the stretch.
In the end, it was Shackleford by a length in a final time of 1:21.06. Gantry was third, 5 lengths behind the top two.
It was Shackleford's first win since his 2011 Preakness victory. He is owned by Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge and trained by Dale Romans.
-- Candice Curtis