Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford will seek to get back in the winner’s circle Oct. 1 in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II), his final race before an expected start in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Shackleford, owned by Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge and trained by Dale Romans, is one of eight 3-year-olds entered in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The Derby, with a probable post time of 6:15 p.m. EDT, is the final race on a 12-race program that offers nine other stakes, including the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (gr. II).
Romans, who began racing at Hoosier Park for its first Thoroughbred meet in 1995, holds the record of 18 for most stakes victories by a trainer at the track. He also entered recent Hoosier Park allowance winner Friends Place, who is owned by Preston Stables but will be coupled with Shackleford in the wagering.
After the Preakness, Shackleford finished fifth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and then fell a neck short to Coil in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) at Monmouth Park. In his last start Aug. 27 at Saratoga, Shackleford flashed early speed before fading and finishing eight, 22 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Stay Thirsty.
Shackleford, after a short break, was back on the work tab at Churchill Downs Sept. 17 with a five-furlong work in 1:01.20, best of 24 at the distance on a fast track. A week later he worked five furlongs on a sloppy track at Churchill in :59.50, the best of 19.
Jesus Castanon, who has ridden Shackleford in all eight of his 2011 starts, has the call again at 124 pounds.
Shackleford, a Kentucky-bred by Forestry, may have some company up front in the Indiana Derby based on past performances. His foes include Decisive Moment, a two-time stakes winner, and Wilburn , winner of the Sept. 5 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing; both prefer to run on or near the pace.
McNeill Stables and Cheyenne Stables’ Caleb's Posse , who is being pointed to the one-turn Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) Nov. 5, returns to two-turn racing in the Indiana Derby for trainer Donnie Von Hemel. The Posse colt most recently put together back-to-back strong wins in the seven-furlong King’s Bishop Stakes (gr. I) and 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam Stakes (gr. II), both at Saratoga.
Caleb’s Posse, however, has done well around two turns with victories in the one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January and the 1 1/16- mile Ohio Derby (gr. III) at Thistledown in June. Rajiv Maragh, who rode Caleb’s Posse in his two Saratoga wins, isn’t coming to town; Robby Albarado has been named to ride at 124 pounds.
A wild card in the Indiana Derby appears to be Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein’s Windswept, a Kentucky-bred by Arch that has raced only three times. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in early July and then rallied well for second in a 1 1/8-mile allowance test at Saratoga at the end of July.
Windswept, trained by Steve Margolis and to be ridden by Corey Lanerie at 117 pounds, has been training steadily at Churchill in advance of his return.
$500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II, Race 12, 6:15 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Decisive Moment (FL) D Centeno 124 J D Arias
2. Little Drama (FL) J Sanchez 117 D Fawkes
3. Populist Politics (LA) G Melancon 117 T M Amoss
4. Friends Place (KY) M A Pedroza 117 D L Romans
5. Windswept (KY) C J Lanerie 117 S Margolis
6. Caleb's Posse (KY) R Albarado 124 D K Von Hemel
7. Shackleford (KY) J L Castanon 124 D L Romans
8. Wilburn (KY) J R Leparoux 124 S M Asmussen