Almost immediately after entering his stall following a four-hour trip from Kentucky, the 2011 Preakness winner had a short roll on his back and then set to rearranging his stall bed and angling for treats.
Shackleford returned to his home base at Churchill Downs for rest following a scintillating, front-running score in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28 at Belmont Park and will seek his second straight Grade 1 victory Sunday in the $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs.
“He left Churchill at 6:05 a.m. and got in at 11 am. It wasn’t much of a trip,” said Romans, grazing Shackleford outside the barn. “He went into Lexington and was last on the plane and first off. He gets the rock star treatment from everybody.”
Shackleford’s copper coat glistened in the sunshine after a sponge bath, and he rambunctiously leaped into the air several times afterward.
Romans initially had pointed Shackleford for a run in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap on Saturday but ultimately opted for the Vanderbilt as a springboard to the Grade 1 Forego at seven furlongs September 1 at the Spa.
“I was pointing toward the Whitney originally, but when he was tired after the Met Mile we backed up a little bit,” Romans said. “This was in the back of our mind, with the Forego as the main objective. I don’t think this will take as much out of him as the Whitney.”
Romans said Shackleford would gallop on the main track in the two days leading up to the Vanderbilt as well as school in the paddock and starting gate.
–NYRA Press release