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Shackleford's New Target is Kelso

Scratched by trainer Dale Romans from the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego on Saturday because of a persistent cough, Shackleford now will be pointed toward a run in the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap, a one-mile race September 29 at Belmont Park.


On Sunday morning, Romans sent his barn star out to the Saratoga main track for an easy jog. The cough bothering Shackleford wasn’t enough to keep him stall-bound, but Romans wasn’t about to throw his two-time Grade 1 winner into a top sprint at less than 100 percent.


“You just don’t run a coughing horse,” Romans said. “There’s something going on, but we took him out for a light jog.”


Shackleford, who captured the 2011 Preakness Stakes, won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap this year on Kentucky Derby Day and used that victory as a springboard to his sensational score in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28 at Belmont Park .


He arrived at Saratoga this summer as one of the top-ranked horses in the country, but in his first outing at the Spa he finished last in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap over a muddy track. Romans said the inside post and course conditions bothered Shackleford that day and called the race a toss.


The cough cost him his opportunity at redemption. Still, the trainer said he wasn’t all that disappointed.


“No, not really,” Romans said. “We’ve had him now since he was a young 2-year-old and he’s missed one race. He never missed a day of training I was pointing for; he’d never missed a race. Nothing. He shows up every time.”


Shackleford now will return to his base at Churchill Downs and prepare for the Kelso and then a run in the Breeders’ Cup, likely the final races of his career.


“What we want to do is win the Breeders’ Cup,” Romans said.


Asked if the Kelso would lead to a run in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, Romans preferred to keep his options open.


“Still not sure, but that’s the most obvious spot,” he said. “Not that we won’t do something that’s not obvious. We’ll figure it out.”



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Older Comments about Shackleford's New Target is Kelso...

I sure hope Shack makes it to the Kelso. We'll have to wait and see.

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