Race of the Week 2017

Shackleford: Ready To Invade The Hoosier State

Dale Romans-trainee, Shackleford is turning up the heat, and blazing the Churchill Downs surface in preparation for next Saturday’s Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park.
The Preakness winner is coming off of a disappointing performance in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga. Shack left us scratching our heads with his dreadful run, but one must realize the Saratoga surface is one a horse either relishes or despises. Obviously Shackleford belongs in the latter category.

Any doubts about this son of Forestry’s health, or soundness, should be put to rest by his last two workouts, in which he fired bullets. The first came on September 17, a five furlong work in 1:01.20. It was the best work of 24 at the distance that day at Churchill Downs. Shack’s most recent work, on Saturday, was another eye-popper, this time over a sloppy surface at Churchill. He went five furlongs in 59.80, the best work from 18 at the distance.

Shackleford should love the speed favoring track at Hoosier Park, and the 8.5 furlong distance of the Indiana Derby will be right in his wheel house. He’ll be looking to hit a home-run, but he won’t be facing Triple A competition. The Indiana Derby will be full of big leaguers, and Shack will have to be on his A game in order to get the job done.

Among the prime contenders is Caleb's Posse, who has been nothing short of spectacular in his last two starts. Caleb has been, what one could call, “a one man posse.” He dazzled in the grade II Amsterdam, crushing his competition by 4 lengths. That day, he met a strong field which included To Honor and Serve - who, in his own right, just dominated a classy field in the grade II Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday. The Donnie Von Hemel-trainee followed this performance up with a heart stopping triumph in the grade I Kings Bishop Stakes, beating Two Year Old Champion Uncle Mo by a nose. Caleb will be stretching back out to a route distance, but he has proven he can go long, with his win in the grade III Ohio Derby.

Romans and Shackleford will also have to deal with the combo of Bob Baffert and Prayer for Relief. Baffert is looking for his 3rd straight win in the Indiana Derby, and Prayer for Relief is looking for his 4th straight Derby victory. Prayer for Relief is coming off an ultra-impressive, 2 ½ length victory in the grade II Super Derby at Louisiana Downs.  This “holy colt” also boasts wins in the grade III Iowa Derby, and the grade II West Virginia Derby.

Romans will be looking for a dominant performance to set Shackleford up for either the Breeders’ Cup Classic, or the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.  Shack has proven his class and his heart, the only question is the 10 furlong distance. The Indiana Derby will be the perfect spot to condition Shack. He will get a class test, with a fellow grade I winner and a multiple grade II winner, as his main foes.


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Older Comments about Shackleford: Ready To Invade The Hoosier State...

Welcome to Indy Shackleford!! Good luck to you and your connections!!
Wiburn will surprise. Well rested and sitting on a big one
Shack's running style and penchant for not finishing the race is reminiscent of another Roman's trained tlented colt-First Dude. Remember him? I wonder if a switcheroo to Baffert as trainer might work wonders for Shack as it did splendidly for FD. Nothing against Mr. Romans.My prediction in the Indiana Derby: Baffert's Prayer For Relief will defeat Shack in the same way that Lookin at Lucky did to FD in the 2010 Preakness.
I'm looking for Shack to bounce back. As for the competition,,,we have two horses which are at their peaks in Caleb's Posse and Prayer For Relief.
SHACK should win this race but the horse thats going with him will be PFR!!
Shackleford has never displayed any speed that I'm aware of. If challenged on the front he won't get the distance. He needs a slow mile to win this in the last 1/16
This one is setting up nicely for Shack, he's great at the distance and will outrun most of the competition except for PFR. Shack by a neck.
Scott! I can't believe the field that will be in Indiana with us next weekend! I'm looking forward to the trip and Shack's dominance on the lead!
I personally think Shackleford has a lot more natural speed then Prayer for Relief.
I agree with Zatt thats an absolute possibility, i hope that he is able to rate off of PFR and get a stalking trip, but he looks razor sharp as always. This horse is ultra impressive.
If Prayer For Relief and Shackleford battle on the lead, things could set up rather nicely for Caleb's Posse.

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