Shackleford (with trainer Dale Romans, left) greets his fans at Santa Anita.

Shackleford (with trainer Dale Romans, left) greets his fans at Santa Anita.

Tracy Gantz

Shackleford Greets His Fans at Santa Anita

About 100 meet 2011 Preakness (gr. I) winner as well as Dullahan and Little Mike.

Shackleford , the 2011 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and 2012 Metropolitan Mile (gr. I) winner who is preparing to compete in the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), met about 100 of his fans Oct. 27 at Santa Anita Park.

Trainer Dale Romans invited people to his barn after morning training hours to meet Shackleford, and he also brought out Dullahan and Little Mike.

Many had become fans of Shackleford through his Facebook page. Terri Martin of San Antonio, Texas, traveled to California expressly to see Shackleford.

"I've loved him since he started racing," Martin said. "I'm just here for one day. I'm so excited. I have him framed on my wall. I've been following him all through his career."

Martin and Diane Martin of Los Angeles are not related to each other, and they are both Shackleford fans. The two women met in person at Santa Anita when they got together for the tour to Romans' barn.

"We met on Shackleford's Facebook page and saw that we were both coming," said Diane.

Terri Martin hopes to put together an ownership syndicate to buy one of Shackleford's first foals after he goes to stud.

Shackleford and Dullahan separately worked five furlongs on the dirt at Santa Anita earlier in the morning. With Tammy Fox aboard, they each went in 1:00. Romans and Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing are going to discuss whether Dullahan will run in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at 1 1/4 miles on the dirt or the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at 1 1/2 miles.

"If it were up to me, I'd run him in the Classic," said Romans.

Little Mike, who is entered in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) and the Turf, came out first, posing for cameras. Dullahan followed him, but the crowd was waiting for their favorite, Shackleford.

"Shackleford is a strong horse," Romans told the crowd. "He knows what he's doing. But if you have a peppermint, he's very sweet. Does anyone have a peppermint?"

Several people dug into their pockets and brought forth candies, which Romans then let them feed to the colt.

Mike Lauffer, who owns Shackleford with Bill Cubbedge and the Phillips Racing Partnership and who bred him with Cubbedge, watched the crowd and took photos on his iPad.

"I think it's just tremendous," said Lauffer. "That's why we've enjoyed horse racing and having Dale and Tammy as our trainers. We have a lot of fun with them, and they like to include everyone. All of their horses have developed big fan bases."