10/29/2012 5:58PM

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile: Shackleford has seen it all before

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shackleford rears during his morning training at Santa Anita on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Shackleford was assigned post 6 in a field of nine 3-year-olds and upward entered to run Saturday at Santa Anita in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, a starting slot that might have the $2.8-million earner in a tenuous early position between the other likely speed horses, Delegation (post 2) and Emcee (post 7).

Does trainer Dale Romans care?

“Not really,” he said. “He’s been there in the heat of battle plenty of times before. He knows what he’s supposed to do.”

Shackleford, with Ramon Dominguez to ride, will be one of the favorites in this sixth running of the Dirt Mile, which is the third of nine Saturday races in the BC sequence. Emcee (Alan Garcia), winner of the Grade 1 Forego, and Jersey Town (post 3, Javier Castellano), winner of the Grade 2 Kelso Mile, are the other likely wagering choices.

[BREEDERS' CUP PPs: Visit DRF's official BC Handicapping Center]

Jersey Town, with his come-from-behind style, not only is likely to be among the last on the scene for the stretch run in the race, but also in terms of arriving at Santa Anita from New York. The 6-year-old horse was scheduled to be flown out Wednesday after Hurricane Sandy finally leaves the New York area.

Among the longer-priced horses is Tapizar, who was an awful sixth behind Jersey Town in the Sept. 29 Kelso Mile but who has two eye-catching wins over the Santa Anita main track.

“He’s training the best he’s ever trained this year,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “Having said that, he’s going to have to run the best race of his life to win this.”

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: Race-by-race coverage, video, early odds]

From the rail, this is the entire Dirt Mile lineup: Rail Trip, Jose Valdivia Jr., Delegation, Patrick Husbands; Jersey Town; John Scott, Victor Espinoza; Fed Biz, Joe Talamo; Shackleford; Emcee; Tapizar, Corey Nakatani; and Second City, Mario Gutierrez.

Three 3-year-olds are among the cast: Delegation, Fed Biz, and Second City.

Twelve were originally pre-entered in the Dirt Mile, with the opt-outs being Handsome Mike (Classic), Nonios (Classic), and Jimmy Creed (Sprint).