The connections of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford said a decision on the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) will be made after the Forestry colt breezes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 4.
“All indications right now are good,” co-owner Mike Lauffer said after Shackleford galloped 1 1/2 miles at Belmont Park on the morning of June 1.
“He trained good today,” trainer Dale Romans said. Tammy Fox, Romans’ wife and regular exercise rider of Shackleford, will fly to New York for the June 4 breeze.
Lauffer, who owns Shackleford in partnership with Bill Cubbedge, said how well the colt handles the track--not who the competition might be and the possible pace scenario--is the primary consideration in the decision to run in the Belmont. Shackleford consistently runs his best when on or just off the lead, setting the pace before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and winning the Preakness in gate-to-wire fashion.
“The main thing is how he takes to the track and how he’s training,” Lauffer said. “The exercise riders will have an idea of whether he likes the track. All the indications we get from the jockey (Jesus Castanon) is that he can do whatever he wants to with this horse. We think that he will lay off (pace setting) horses if we ask him to.”
When asked whether the connections were waiting to see who the potential competition might be before committing to the Belmont, Lauffer said, “We haven’t ducked anyone.”
The colt, who was bred in Kentucky by Lauffer and Cubbedge, has won three of seven starts, with his only runner-up effort coming in the Florida Derby (gr. I) where he led all the way before being caught late by Dialed In .