05/29/2012 2:55PM

Belmont Park: Two turns possible for Shackleford after Met Mile win

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Michael Amoruso
Shackleford holds off Caleb's Posse to win the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Though Shackleford appears to have found his niche in races run around one turn, trainer Dale Romans said Tuesday that he would not be opposed to running his Metropolitan Handicap winner two turns again in the future.

While Romans sent Shackleford to WinStar Farm on Tuesday morning for at least a week’s worth of rest and relaxation, he said races such as the Whitney and Woodward, both run at 1 1/8 miles worth $750,000 at Saratoga on Aug. 4 and Sept. 1, respectively, would be under consideration.

When reminded that the Suburban is a one-turn, 1 1/8-mile race run here July 7, Romans said that race could be under consideration as well.

“I was thinking more Saratoga, but maybe I need to start thinking about that,” Romans said Tuesday morning.

Romans remained at Belmont Park on Tuesday as he prepares Blue Grass winner Dullahan for the June 9 Belmont Stakes. However, Shackleford was flown to Kentucky and by 10:30 a.m. he was on the grounds at WinStar Farm in Lexington, where he has spent some time in the past.

“He’s not turned out or anything,” Romans said. “They have a training track, nice facility for him, change of scenery; he likes it over there.”

Shackleford won the Met Mile by a nose over the late-running Caleb’s Posse. He ran a mile in 1:33.30 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 115. He became the first horse to win the Preakness at 3 and the Met Mile at 4 since Carry Back (1961-62).

Romans said races like the Suburban, Whitney, and Woodward interest him because “now we have start thinking about Eclipse Awards.”

As far as whether to target the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile or the Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall, Romans said “we’ll worry about that when the time comes.”

Last year, Shackleford finished second to Caleb’s Posse in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

By virtue of his victory in the Met Mile, Shackleford earned an automatic berth in this November’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, meaning his entry fees will paid plus his connections receive a $10,000 travel stipend.

Meanwhile, Caleb’s Posse left New York on a van bound for Chicago at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday. He came up on the wrong end of a photo for the third straight time. He lost the Tom Fool by a neck and the Carter by a nose before Monday’s Met Mile.

“You can’t be disappointed in a horse race like that,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said before catching his own plane home. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find a horse that’s run three better races in a row this year. I wouldn’t put any blame on anybody, it’s just the way things have happened.”

Von Hemel thought Caleb’s Posse may have been compromised by the speed-favoring nature of Belmont’s surface Monday.

“It was such an effort to overcome what I thought was a speed favoring track,” Von Hemel said. “To get to Shackleford was just an effort. Shackleford ran a great race, our horse ran a great race.”

Von Hemel said he did not have any immediate plans for Caleb’s Posse, though he did mention the Grade 1 Forego, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga on Sept. 1, would likely be on his calendar.