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Churchill Downs: Shackleford retires in style; Take Charge Indy's future up in the air
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – While Shackleford strode off into the proverbial sunset by providing a storybook ending to his racing career Friday night in capturing the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs, questions lingered the following day about whether the runner-up, Take Charge Indy, also is finished racing and headed for stud duty.
Trainer Pat Byrne gave no indication either way in saying a decision would be announced by midweek whether Take Charge Indy will go to Florida to point for a 4-year-old campaign or go instead to WinStar Farm, which bought the colt’s breeding rights earlier this year.
“He came out of the race super, so if he stays in training we’re in good shape that way,” Byrne said.
Take Charge Indy, making his second start since ankle surgery, had Calvin Borel aboard when giving primary chase to Shackleford before finishing a length shy of his older rival in the Grade 1 Clark.
Meanwhile, trainer Dale Romans said Saturday morning that he was “emotionally exhausted” from winning the Clark for the first time in dramatic fashion. But he quickly noted that he “better get over it soon” because he had 12 horses to run on Saturday’s Stars of Tomorrow program for 2-year-olds.
“It never ends in this game,” he said with his familiar sleepy-eyed grin.
There seems some sentiment that Shackleford may have clinched an Eclipse Award for Romans for top trainer in 2012 with his win.
“That’s out of my hands, and before I start making an argument for myself I’d need to see all the stats,” Romans said. “But there’s no question we’ve had a tremendous year.”
Shackleford, with Jesus Castanon aboard, was the 5-2 second choice as the 120-pound highweight in a field of nine in the 1 1/8-mile race. He finishes with more than $3 million in earnings from 20 career starts.
The win by Shackleford not only gave Romans wins in both the Falls City and Clark, but the 15-year-old blue hen mare, Oatsee, also was in on the sweep: She produced both the Falls City winner, Afleeting Lady (by Afleet Alex), and Shackleford (by Forestry).
The third-place Clark finisher, 3-year-old Bourbon Courage, will head soon to Fair Grounds and probably will point to the Feb. 23 Mineshaft at the New Orleans track, said Evan Downing, assistant to trainer Kellyn Gorder. Bourbon Courage encountered a bit of traffic under Leandro Goncalves before finishing well when beaten just a head for second.
Plans for the fourth Clark finisher, New York-bred Lunar Victory, were not available for confirmation Saturday from Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. Lunar Victory was a surprise favorite at a lukewarm 5-2 when failing to make much impact when nearly eight lengths back of the winner.
The lone scratch from the race was Pool Play, winner of the 2011 Stephen Foster at Churchill. Trainer Mark Casse said the 7-year-old horse “just hadn’t been acting like himself” in the 48 hours or so approaching the race, and he erred on the side of caution in moving to scratch him.
I'm tired of all these horses being retired so young. Take Charge Indy, Shackleford and Stay Thirsty should all come back. Just one of many things wrong with racing today. At least we do have a lot of good horses coming back.
they need to run take charge indy at gulfstream he clearly cant win anywhere else, i dont know if take charge can run with this stake grade company
The only reason to bring Take Charge Indy back is if the reward is worth the risk. He loves GP, so the Donn makes sense (possibly the Hal's Hope before that). With the horse's efforts at Keeneland, it seems that the World Cup could be next (although Take Charge Indy's running style may not fit there). Then a break before the Foster and the Woodward before a potential finale in the Classic at SA in which Take Charge Indy's style would make him a major threat there. Could all that success outweigh the fact that you've got a brilliantly-bred G1 winner with an excellent chance of being a great sire right now?
I have had questions on some of Romans moves all year especially with Little Mike. I am man enough to admit i have been wrong on many occasions. He deserves the award no doubt. Congrats on a great year Mr. Romans!!
Romans, Trainer of The Year, no doubt...
Why would they put TCI through training for a comeback only to retire him now? I really don't see them doing this. But if they did; what a low class move. Definately would be a real let down and a real case of not putting the horse first.
I've been a Shack fan most of his career - however, I just put 2 and 2 together to realize that he is a half to one of my favorite fillies, Baghdaria (beat French Park at 23 to 1 in a post-Katrina Siverbulletday at LA Downs)...Wish I'd have known sooner, my wagers would've tripled...No BC bounce here - in fact, quite an historic curtain call...Great job, Dale Romans!
i feel like its too soon to retire TCI. he went from third place in his comeback race to get second in the clark. hes moving up. he fought hard to get second, hes a game racer if you ask me. keep him going hes still learning.
Amazing race and victory for Shack ( and Indy, btw). Make beauties, LoveShack, and enjoy your retirement. You will be missed at the races. Congrats to you and your connections. Take Indy to Gulfstream, please! Gulfstream , please!
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