Trainer Dale Romans was beaming Tuesday, the morning after he saddled Shackleford to a front-running nose victory in Belmont’s Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.
Owned by Michael Lauffer, W.D. Cubbedge, and the Phillips Racing Partnership, Shackleford was game in his wire-to-wire victory in the prestigious race.
“I think that was one of the most important wins of my career,” said Romans, who is no stranger to big victories. “It’s a prestigious race for a stallion, and with his body of work, to put that on his resume puts him over the top. He should make a great stallion. He’s so sound, never had any issues. He’s got speed and endurance. It’s just a tough combination.”
Romans said the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November will be the long-term objective for Shackleford, who will now get a few days of rest at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.
“We started with the Met Mile and worked back to the beginning of the year, and now we’ll start with the Breeders’ Cup and work back,” said Romans. “There’s nothing to say he won’t go a mile and an eighth. The Whitney [Handicap, Grade 1, $750,000, Aug. 4, Saratoga Race Course] is out there. So is the Woodward [Grade 1, $750,000, Sept.1, Saratoga]. There are some interesting things to think about.”
–NYRA Press contributed to this report.