A decision on whether classic hero Shackleford would run in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Saturday at Aqueduct or one day earlier in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs was to be made Monday, but trainer Dale Romans told the Courier-Journal on Sunday that the chestnut would stay home in Kentucky for the latter contest.
"Basically it came down to just staying at home," Romans told the Courier-Journal's Jennie Rees after conferring with co-owner Mike Lauffer. "He likes it here and we think he'll handle the mile and an eighth."
On Saturday, Shackleford went a half-mile in :47 2/5 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs with exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard. The breeze -- his first since a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on November 3 -- was the second-fastest of 57 at the distance.
"He worked really well and seemed to come out of it fine this morning," Romans said.
Shackleford has won more than $2.8 million with a record of 5-5-1 from 19 career starts. The chestnut son of Forestry captured the Preakness Stakes last year en route to a runner-up effort in the 2011 Dirt Mile. Thus far this year the four-year-old has captured the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and Grade 2 Churchill Downs.