After recording his first win since last spring's Preakness (gr. I), Shackleford is being groomed for a start in the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park May 28.
Shackleford captured the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II) on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 5 in a gritty battle with champion male sprinter Amazombie.
Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s 4-year-old homebred galloped 1 ½ miles at Churchill Downs May 10 under regular exercise rider Faustino Aguilar May 10 for trainer Dale Romans. Shackleford is co-owned by Darby Dan, where he will stand at stud following his racing career.
“He looks so good that I think we ought to run him in the Preakness again,” Lauffer joked about the chestnut son of Forestry.
“It’s going to be a war,” Lauffer said in reference to the Met Mile. “But that’s OK. It’s supposed to be that way and if we’re going to go up against those types of horses then I’m glad we’re doing it while the horse is doing so well.”
Shackleford was making his third start of the year in the Churchill Downs. He previously finished seventh in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) in February at Gulfstream Park and third in the Carter Handicap (gr. I) April 7 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“This horse has a lot of heart and try in him,” Lauffer said. “He always runs his eyeballs out.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Shackleford has a career record of 4-4-1 from 15 career starts and earnings of $2,291,381. The chestnut colt is out of the Unbridled mare Oatsee, Kentucky's 2011 Broodmare of the Year.
Oatsee is also the dam of grade I winner Lady Joanne (by Orientate), multiple grade III winner Baghdaria (by Royal Academy), and two stakes-placed runners. Lady Joanne won the Alabama Stakes (gr. I), the Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II), and the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III).