Shackleford & Animal Kingdom Go To The Wire

Shackleford & Animal Kingdom Go To The Wire

Many who saw Michael Lauffer and W.D. Cubbedge's homebred SHACKLEFORD (Forestry) prior to Saturday's Preakness S. (G1) at Pimlico discounted the sophomore from a having a shot in the race after his pre-race antics. Bucking and sweating heavily while trainer Dale Romans attempted to saddle him up, the chestnut was eventually led out of the infield and onto the track before he could be cinched up.

Even in the post parade, the commentators reflected on how the horse was rattled and "not focused," to quote analyst Gary Stevens, entering the gate.

None of that mattered once the doors opened on the 136 edition of the Preakness.

Just like the Kentucky Derby (G1) two weeks ago, Shackleford gunned straight for the front when the bell rang. However this time he found company to his inside in the form of Flashpoint (Pomeroy), who grabbed a slim advantage. Those two hooked up through a swift opening quarter of :22 3/5 but had slowed things down by the time Flashpoint posted fractions of :46 4/5 and 1:12.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) had settled in the rear, running next to last under jockey John Velazquez.

The pace took its toll on Flashpoint, who began fading rounding the turn, but Shackleford was more than ready to take up the lead. Maintaining his momentum into the lane with regular rider Jesus Castanon aboard, the gleaming chestnut turned back a challenge from Astrology (A.P. Indy) and continued homeward.

Animal Kingdom, by this point, had made up some ground, angled out and split horses leaving the turn. The late runner came powering down the center of the track and appeared for a moment ready to overhaul Shackleford. Despite drifting a bit nearing the wire, Shackleford dug deep and held his rival by a half-length on the wire to finish up the 1 3/16-mile classic in 1:56 2/5 over the fast dirt.

As the 12-1 sixth choice Shackleford paid $27.20, $10.20 and $6.80 while keying a $114.80 exacta, $1,401.80 trifecta and $6,212.60 superfecta (5-11-1-10). Animal Kingdom was a game second as the 2-1 favorite, returning $4.20 and $3.60, and 15-1 Astrology filled the third spot to give back $8.

Dialed In (Mineshaft), sent off the second pick at 4-1, came next under the wire, with Dance City (City Zip), Mucho Macho Man (Macho Uno), King Congie (Badge of Silver), Mr. Commons (Artie Schiller), Isn't He Perfect (Pleasantly Perfect), Concealed Identity (Smarty Jones), Norman Asbjornson (Real Quiet), Sway Away (Afleet Alex), Midnight Interlude (War Chant) and Flashpoint completing the order of finish.

By virtue of his running in the Florida Derby (G1) and Fountain of Youth S. (G2), where he finished second and fifth, respectively, Shackleford received a $500,000 bonus to add to his winner's share of the $1 million purse. The colt boosted his lifetime earnings to $1,471,666 and his career line now reads 7-3-1-0.

Shackleford made his career debut at Keeneland in October, fading to ninth in that Polytrack test. He returned to break his maiden on the main track Churchill Downs, then was given a couple months off. The chestnut made his three-year-old bow against allowance rivals, scoring in that Gulfstream event by 2 1/4 lengths on February 5, but wouldn't visit the winner's circle again until the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Instead, Shackleford made his stakes bow in the Fountain of Youth, where he never really factored after running in fifth throughout. Castanon put him on the lead in the Florida Derby next out and the three-year-old responded with a near miss head second in that nine-furlong test. He broke running in the Kentucky Derby last out and held for a game fourth in the Run for the Roses before taking this classic in gutsy fashion.

Shackleford was a $275,000 RNA at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale, and is out of the stakes-placed Unbridled mare Oatsee. That makes him a half-brother to Lady Joanne (Orientate), the winner of the 2007 Alabama S. (G1), as well as multiple Grade 3 heroine Baghdaria (Royal Academy). The trio have a pair of younger half-brothers in an unnamed juvenile by A.P. Indy and a yearling by Johannesburg.

The Kentucky-bred's fourth dam is Taminette (In Reality), a full sister to Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) winner and successful sire Known Fact, and a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 1 star Tentam (Intentionally). Taminette produced multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Tappiano (Fappiano), and other notables in the family include Grade 1 victor and influential stallion Gone West (Mr. Prospector).



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