By Steve Haskin and Ron Mitchell
After Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford breezed five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 at Belmont Park June 4, trainer Dale Romans said the Forestry colt will run in the June 11 Belmont Stakes (gr. I). The fractional splits were the first eighth in :12 1/5, three furlongs in :36 1/5, five furlongs in 1:00 1/5, and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.
“He worked super,” Romans said of the exercise regimen in which his partner, Tammy Fox, was aboard Shackleford. “He finished good and I love his energy. He’s handling the track and doing everything the way he’s supposed to, so it’s a go. As long as he comes out of the work good, he will run.”
Romans had been waiting for the breeze to decide definitively whether the homebred who races for Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge would again face Animal Kingdom in the third leg of the Triple Crown. Animal Kingdom, who is scheduled for his final workout June 6, won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and finished second in the Preakness. Shackleford finished fourth in the Derby before turning the tables to win the Preakness.
“I’m excited,” Romans said. “He’s coming into the race the right way and I think he’s going to be very competitive. It will be fun to have a little rivalry going.
“I think he will handle the (1 1/2-mile) distance. Under the right scenario he will be fine. You would think (he would be on the lead). He’s been on the lead the last two races. I don’t know who’s going to jump in and try to get in front of him.”