Will the real Slim Shadey show up for Saturday’s Grade 1
$500,000 United Nations Stakes? His trainer thinks so.
“He’s been training extremely well. He shipped over to
Monmouth (from Southern California) a couple
of days ago and he galloped a mile and a half over the track this morning. He’s
taken the journey very well,” said trainer Simon Callaghan, who has come to
Monmouth for the first time to saddle the horse “We feel we’ve got him in
really good form. We’re looking forward to this race.”
Bred in Great Britain by owner Phil Cunningham, the 4-year-old
gelded son of Val Royal and the Chief’s Crown mare VinoVeritas shares a name
with superstar rapper Eminem, nee Marshall Mathers, who also calls himself The
Real Slim Shady. Even though suffering from a case of seconditis in his last
three races, the equine Slim Shadey just may be the real deal.
Early on he was campaigned in Ireland and England, where he
once finished fourth behind the undefeated Frankel, and then was sent stateside
and to Callaghan last fall. The third time out of the gate at Santa Anita, he
won the Grade 2 San Marcos and then on Kentucky Derby Day stepped up to Churchill
Downs’ Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic where he had to chase the
front-running Little Mike. Last out on June 9, he was beaten only a length by Acclamation
when the 2011 champion Older Male was left alone on the lead in the Grade 1
Charlie Whittingham Handicap.
“He ran a very good race,” said Callaghan, a 29-year-old
British native who also trains Grade 1 winners Dubawi Heights and Belle Royale.
“Acclamation is a very proven horse at the Group 1 level. I think it’s nothing
to be ashamed of to finish second to a horse of that caliber. Every run he’s
had here, this horse seems to have improved. He’s stepped up for every race.
Let’s hope he does the same.”
The United Nations, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the
$3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be contested at one mile and three eights
on the turf course. That makes it a three-turn test.
“A mile and three eights is probably his optimal distance,”
said Callaghan. “He’s one of those horses that tactically can be ridden any
way. He’s won on the lead before and he can come from behind. We’ll see how the
race develops. You can pretty much put him in any position.”
David Flores, who has ridden Slim Shadey in all six of his
American starts, will travel across the country to partner with him again. The
horse is the 120 pound highweight in the field of seven and the 3-1 third
choice in the morning line.