06/07/2011 3:31PM

Belmont Stakes: Irwin, Romans exchange friendly barbs at media event

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Barry Irwin (left), head of the Team Valor International syndicate that owns the Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, shakes hands Tuesday in New York City with Dale Romans, trainer of the Preakness winner, Shackleford. The two sides will face off in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

Barry Irwin, the president of the Team Valor International syndicate that owns Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, and Dale Romans, trainer of Preakness winner Shackleford, got into a friendly war of words during a media event in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Irwin opined that he was “not concerned at all about Shackleford” in the Belmont Stakes.

“Mucho Macho Man is the horse I’m worried about,” Irwin said.

“That’s not the dumbest thing that Barry’s ever said,” Romans retorted, “but it’s close. I’ll meet Animal Kingdom on any track at any distance.”

Irwin became infamous on national television shortly after the Derby for saying he put all his horses with trainer Graham Motion because he was tired of all his other trainers lying to him, a position from which he has retreated a bit in subsequent weeks. Romans used to train horses for Team Valor, and Romans has said that he and Irwin are on good terms.

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