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Breeders' Cup 2017

Shackleford Chasing The Dirt Mile Crown

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships is widely known as an event to crown champions. Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile morning line favorite Shackleford is looking for another “Crowning Moment.”  


Shack is no stranger to the winner’s circle with 5 wins in 18 starts and career earnings of nearly 3 million dollars. His first crowning moment came in the 2011 Preakness. He pressed the pace in the second leg of the triple crown before making the lead at the top of the stretch, the gutsy chestnut never relenquished it not even when 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom came running.


The Dale Romans charge is coming into the Breeders’ Cup off two losses but that won’t discourage this son of Forestry.  Before the G2 Kelso Handicap fellow Horse Racing Nation blogger Matt Shifman noted that Shackleford was acting a little out of character and didn’t quite make the same imposing “Shackleford” like appearance in the paddock.


In the Kelso, Shack sprinted to the lead while being chased and pressured by Trickmeister, the early fractions were honest but weren’t anything quicker than Shackleford has run before. Jersey Town sat a dream trip in fourth, as they reached the top of the stretch it was evident that Castellano had more engine under him with Jersey Town than Dominguez had with Shackleford.  Jersey Town drew off to a 3 ½ length victory while Shackleford fought on to run 2nd finishing nearly a length ahead of Trickmeister.


The Vanderbilt was Shackleford’s worst performance this year but the race was a complete throw out. The Saratoga dirt surface has proven to be the kryptonite to this super hero. If you go back to the Met Mile you will see the real Shack. He gave us one of the best performances of the year and of his career in the Met. Shackleford led the field through a sub 22 quarter and a sub 45 half and still held off last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Caleb’s Posse by a nose.  He earned the 3rd highest beyer speed figure (115) of the year. Shack Attack’s performance in the G2 Churchill Downs Handicap was as equally impressive especially when you consider he out battled 2011 eclipse award winning sprinter and Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor Amazombie.


Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile runner up will need to show the stamina he showed in the Preakness  to find himself in the winner’s circle Saturday, but I think he’s sitting on a huge race.  He will have to deal with some strong competition.


Emcee is making his first start at a distance further than 7 furlongs. He has the speed to go with Shackleford but I see him sitting a few lengths off the pace and I don’t see him having the guts to run down Shackleford late. Fed Biz is another horse that has flashed good early speed and looks to be a need the lead type but he will have to show a lot more speed than he has in the past to keep up with Shackleford.  Rail Trip has yet to win on regular dirt and has only won once in 2 years. Jersey Town ran a monster race to beat Shack in the Kelso but he’s yet to put back to back big wins.


Shackleford is a horse with Star power. He has the muscle of a hall of fame boxer, the face of a model, and the heart of a Champion.  Shack’s popularity has exploded over the past two years with thousands of adoring fans that travel all over the country to watch their beloved colt race. Trainer Dale Romans has made Shack more than accessible allowing his fans a closer look at their favorite horse, which is something this sport needs desperately.


Romans and “Shackleford Nation” are hoping that the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile will be another one of those “Crowning Moments” for their well deserving colt. Whether you bet Shack on Saturday, toss him, hate him, or love him, you have to respect him for his courage and talent.  


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Older Comments about Shackleford Chasing The Dirt Mile Crown...

This track will help his style tremendously. If he cannot win here, with that help, he is running too high
I'm always wrong about Shackleford, we're like oil & water. He's shown the ability to survive torrid pace duals & come out the other side no worse for wear, where others in here have not, so looks like I'm going to be including him in my bets.
Shack need a nice dry track to show his true ability. No moisture.
Jersey's new found energy post layoff was impressive. This horse came back from a knee fracture after the 3 year old season. I saw his last start at Hastings before that injury. Nice looking smallish animal
I like Jersey Town, a lot. Shack hasn't run close to what his form was in his early races.
Go Shack! There's no doubt that he'll show up on Saturday. The only question is if any of the others can keep up.
Thank you for writing a great article that Shackleford fans will love. You are right we adore him. He has the courage and talent you speak of and that is why he will prevail on Saturday. I love that you say He has "the muscle of a hall of fame boxer, the face of a model and the heart of a champion". Shackleford is going to hang on to be the best on Saturday.
It is an honor to be part of this article. Shackleford has always been a huge fan favorite. The BC Dirt Mile is his to win. Which Shack will show up on Saturday?

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