After three years of
racing, Shackleford will be retiring to stud duty in 2013, at Darby Dan Farm in
Lexington, Kentucky. Shackleford has
been one of the most popular horses for the past two years. Wherever he goes
his loyal fans will be there to lend their support.
Shackleford is scheduled
to make final start. Will that last race be the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Friday, November 23rd
or the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on
Saturday the 24th?
Since joining the staff of
Horse Racing Nation, I have been very lucky to have seen Shackleford run five
times. The first time was for his 2011 thrilling Haskell stretch drive against Coil. Then I saw the four year-old Shack get third in the Carter Handicap at
Aqueduct behind Jackson Bend and Caleb’s Posse. I watched his dazzling victory
in the Met Mile at Belmont when he
defeated Caleb’s Posse and To Honor and Serve. Again I was at Belmont when he
ran second in the Kelso Handicap. Most recently I watched the Shackleford,
go off as the 2.60-1 co-favorite in this year’s Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Shackleford is looking to
end his racing career with his sixth win in either the $400,000 mile and an
eighth Clark or the $350,000 one mile Cigar. Both races would give the Dale
Romans trainee his third grade one victory.
victories have come at a variety of distances. He won his maiden special weight
and the 2012 Churchill Downs Handicap at seven furlongs. Of course the 2011
Preakness was run at the mile and three-sixteenths distance. Shack has one win
at nine furlongs in a NW1 allowance to start his sophomore season and the win
in Met Mile.
In three career starts at
a mile, Shackleford has a record of 1 win and two seconds. The Met Mile victory
produced his best Beyer Speed Figure of 116. The two place finishes came in the
2011 Breeders’ Cup Mile, where he was behind rival Caleb’s Posse and in the
recent Kelso when he got passed by Jersey Town.
At the nine furlong
distance of the Clark, Shackleford has run five times with the same one win and
two seconds record. In the Florida Derby and the Haskell, he placed behind
Dialed In and Coil respectively. He was not competitive in the 2011 Fountain of Youth and the 2012 Donn Handicap.
Shackleford has only run
once at Aqueduct in this year’s Carter, but he has started four times at
Churchill Downs. He has two wins
at the Twin Spires in his maiden breaker and the seven furlong CD Handicap. The
other two starts were in the 2011 Derby and the Breeders’ Cup.
With about a week until
both races the Clark Handicap looks to have the stronger field. Probable
starters at Churchill Downs include: Bourbon Courage, Cease, Neck N’ Neck, and
Take Charge Indy with all of those horses coming off strong performances. Stay Thirsty and Jersey Town should be
in the gate for the Cigar Mile. Stay Thirsty was impressive in the Jockey Club
Gold Cup, while Jersey Town had a lackluster fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt
Since the Donn in
February, Romans has not run Shackleford beyond a mile. When building a resume for stallion
prospects, victories at the mile distance are coveted. A win in the Cigar Mile
would confirm that Shackleford has the speed and stamina that goes along with
his scheduled $20,000 stud fee.
If in fact the connections
decide to send Shackleford north to run in the Cigar Mile, I would be very
happy to head out to Aqueduct to watch the handsome chestnut run his final race.