Preakness winner Shackleford worked five furlongs
in 1:00.30 at Belmont Park on Saturday morning, after which trainer Dale Romans
announced that he will run in the 143rd renewal of the Grade 1, $1
million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11.
“As long as he comes out of the work good he will run,”
Romans said, after conferring via telephone with owner Michael Lauffer.
“I am excited he’s doing so well and coming into the race the right
way. I think he’s going to be very competitive.”
The announcement sets up a rubber match between Shackleford and
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, and will represent just the 22nd
time in the history of the Triple Crown that the Derby
and Preakness winners have squared off in the Belmont.
“It’s fun to get a rivalry started [with Animal
Kingdom],” said Romans. “It’s good for racing.”
With exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard on the Belmont main track, Shackleford went the
first eighth in 12.41, three furlongs in 36.26, five furlongs in 1:00.30, and
galloped out in 1:14.21.
“I wanted to see him work his normal work, and he did
today,” said Romans of the 3-year-old son of Forestry out of the
Unbridled mare Oatsee. “I thought he went around there really well and it
looked like he did everything the way he was supposed to.”
Shackleford, whose half-sister Lady Joanne won the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile
Alabama at Saratoga Race Course in 2007, will seek to become the 19th
horse to complete the Preakness-Belmont double, a feat last accomplished by 2005
3-Year-Old Champion, Afleet Alex.
“I think he will handle the [1 ½ mile] distance,” said
Romans. “Under the right scenario he will be fine. You would think [he
would be on the lead]. He’s been on the lead the last two races. I
don’t know who’s going to jump in and try to get in front of
Point Given (2001), Tabasco Cat (1994), Hansel (1991), Risen Star
(1988), Little Current (1974), Damascus (1967), Nashua (1955), Native Dancer
(1953), Capot (1949), Bimelech (1940), Pillory (1922), Man o’ War (1920),
Belmar (1895), Saunterer (1881), Grenada (1880), Duke of Magenta (1878), and
Cloverbrook (1877) were the only others to win the second and last races in the
Triple Crown without having won the Derby.
Shackleford, who was a game half-length winner over Animal Kingdom in
the Preakness, has a lifetime record of 3-1-0 from seven starts with career
earnings of $1,471,666.
Among the others under consideration for the 1 ½-mile Belmont, which
has a maximum field of 16, are Brilliant Speed, seventh in the Kentucky Derby; Harlan’s
Hello, winner of an optional claimer at Belmont; Isn’t He Perfect, ninth
in the Preakness; Master of Hounds, fifth in the Derby; Monzon, sixth in the
Peter Pan; Mucho Macho Man, sixth in the Preakness; Derby runner-up Nehro;
Prime Cut, third in the Peter Pan; Ruler On Ice, second in the Frederico Tesio
at Pimlico; Santiva, sixth in the Derby, and Stay Thirsty, 12th in