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Breeders' Cup 2017

Can Shackleford Steal the Belmont Stakes?

Preakness captures the 2011 Preakness over Animal Kingdom

Trainer Dale Romans said he anticipated a different pace scenario in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes than the ones that played out in the Kentucky Derby, in which Shackleford led through moderate fractions and finished fourth, and the Preakness, in which he stalked a hot pace and won.


“Going 1 ½ miles is totally different than either of those two races,” said Romans. “I think if he can get a nice, slow, rhythmic pace, it would be perfect. But we don’t want to go too slow. Going 1 ½ miles, fast or slow, they’re going to be getting tired at the end.


“We may have gone too slow in the Derby, because everyone came home so fast and we couldn’t hang on,” he said of that race, in which Shackleford led through an opening half-mile in :48 3/5 and three-quarters in 1:13 2/5. “The Preakness was different [opening half in :46 4/5] and they struggled a little bit at the end, and we had the stamina to finish.”


Romans said he was confident in jockey Jesus Castanon’s ability to negotiate Belmont Park’s unique 1 ½-mile oval despite his lack of experience at the track and not having a mount the day before the race or on the Saturday card.


“He’s 38 years old, it’s not like he’s a kid; he can figure this track out,” said Romans. “He’s ridden here before, as well.”


Castanon, whose first Grade 1 win came with Shackleford’s Preakness victory, last rode at Belmont Park in July 2009, posting a 5-4-2 mark from 40 starts. His most recent stakes start at Belmont was in 2004, when he finished sixth aboard Burning Roma in the Poker.


Shackleford is the morning-line third choice in the Belmont at 9-2, behind Animal Kingdom (2-1) and Derby runner-up Nehro (4-1).


“I think it could have gone either way with all three of them,” said Romans, noting that Shackleford has been overlooked in almost all his races. “He’s not getting the respect he deserves; every race he’s run in he’s been a longshot. And he’s run well in all of them, except the Fountain of Youth. He just seems to be getting better.”



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Older Comments about Can Shackleford Steal the Belmont Stakes?...

Great points by all. I think Medlocke has a great point about Irish horses, but I also agree with everyone saying that Shackleford will be right there if there's no pace. I think he hits the board for sure.
On paper there's very little speed aside from Shackleford but will he tire himself out by going too fast, or will Jesus tire him out by trying to prevent him from going too fast? Either option would compromise his chances. Theoretically he goes gate to wire, but we all know it seldom plays out as it looks on paper. http://horseracebetwin.com/belmont.htm
I think Shackleford has a better chance of running last than first
I am particularly that shakleford going to win much easier than the Preakness, has a good pedigree for long distances, has tactical speed that allows the rider to put it on the head of the peloton or follow the sprinter. I hope not wrong but should not lose tomorrow
I love the Irish methods of training...and perhaps by 7pm et we will all salute Mr. O'Romans.
As long as Shackleford gets into his stride and gets into his cruising speed he will be tough to pass even at 12 furlongs. I know alot of fans believe he can't sustain the distance from his KY Derby performance but I think the longer race and if he settles at or near the front, he will have an advantage from the stretch runners that will need to make up ground on a 1 1/2 mile race. That is not an easy task. My money is on Shackeford.
The reason that America hasn't had a Triple Crown winner since 1978 is because that these days, American trainers can't see past preparing their horses to run any further than 10f. It's almost a new flash when an American horse races beyond 10f. The Belmont winner over the past decade has usually won the race by war of attrition, not because of skill level. That's why I believe since Master of Hounds proved he can run on conventional dirt in the Kentucky Derby, he has a huge shot to win the Belmont. Over in Ireland where Master of Hounds is trained by one of the world's best trainers, Aidan O'Brien, they run their horses over 12f early and often. So for an Irish horse to stay out 12f is really not news at all. JMO.
He won't steal it...Shack will gut run when pressured and find yet another gear. He is a herd leader...no quit.
Remember people said the same thing about d'tara's chances at defeating that field, the 12f is tricky, both for closers and speed horses, horses that are loose on a free wheeling lead arent expending any energy at all, what you'll find if he shakes free and opens up at the top of the stretch that its going to take a serious horse to run him down. those discounting him as if he has no chance forget the conditioning that he's taken on in the 10 and 9.5f races he just competed in, he's going to be as fit tomorrow as he ever will be in his career, thats for sure, and if he's alone he is going to be dangerous and hard to catch.
I was thinking the same thing racecaller. Even Stay Thirsty has the ability to get involved early.
I'm wondering if someone might change tactics a bit and head to the lead... maybe Ruler on Ice? Prime Cut?
I totally agree with KyOaksRunner. There is no way that Shaklford can win the Belmont. In the Wall Street Journal, it says that he's going to win. No way. He proved that in the Derby. If he faded to fourth in a mile and a quarter race, then he's going to be quite far back in a mile and a half race.
I love Shackleford but I doubt he'll be able to hold off the runners behind when they enter Belmont's long homestretch.
Mr. Dale Roman, do.nt you worry, at least i respect your horse since he stopped Dialed In in the Florida Derby to go further, bravo, since the Shackleford is in my attraction. i hope that he can beat Animal Kingdom again in the Belmont Stakes? wait to see that.

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