Shackleford is scheduled to enter stud at Darby Dan Farm near Lexington following the 2012 racing season. But before he becomes a stallion, the 4-year-old son of Forestry still has plenty of work to do.
Trainer Dale Romans discussed Shackleford's schedule of competition while attending the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling sale July 10 in Central Kentucky. Up next for chestnut colt is a start at Saratoga Race Course in either the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 4 or the Forego Stakes (gr. I) Sept 1.
Shackleford has been idle since capturing the May 28 Metroplitan Handicap (gr. I) by a nose over Caleb's Posse at Belmont Park while running for Michael Lauffer, W.D. Cubbedge, and the Phillips Racing Partnership.
"He was tired coming out of that last race, and he's just now coming back to (being) himself," said Romans of Shackleford. "It was the first time I've ever seen with him where it felt like a race took a lot out of him. If we don't feel he's ready for the Whitney, we'll just back off and wait on the Forego."
Then, Romans said: "He could have one race before the Breeders' Cup. I don't know what that would be yet, but the timing is good enough. Maybe it will be the Kelso (Breeders' Cup Handicap, gr. II, Oct. 1) at a mile at Belmont. He's a horse that likes to work and if he's back on his toes, we won't worry about over-running him."
Shackleford's Breeders' Cup target is likely the Dirt Mile (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park. But Romans didn't rule out the Classic (gr. I) on the same day as a possibility.
"It would probably be 60-40 the Dirt Mile, with the Classic in the back of our minds," he said. "I would say it's his last race unless we took him to Japan or something. If it was up to me, he would run at 5, but it's not up to me. There is a lot of money on the table for him—a lot invested—and he's going to have a great stud career."
Shackleford has won five of his 16 career races while finishing second four times and third once, for earnings of $2,741,381. He triumphed in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) in 2011 and the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) this year.
Lauffer and Cubbedge bred Shackleford in Kentucky. He is out of the Unbridled mare Oatsee.