02/13/2012 2:56PM

Gulfstream: No alibis for Shackleford's lackluster performance in Donn

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Tom Keyser
Trainer Dale Romans said he's puzzled as to why Shackleford could do no better than seventh as the favorite in the Donn Handicap.

Trainer Dale Romans said he remains a bit puzzled over Shackleford’s seventh-place finish as the tepid 3-1 favorite in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

“He came out of the race fine and I really don’t have any major excuses,” Romans said on Monday. “I thought he acted real well before the race. He really seems to be maturing. It could have been the track. He’s never run good in the mud before. He’ll bounce back. We’ll just train on a little bit and then figure out where to go next.”

Mission Impazible points to New Orleans

Trainer Todd Pletcher, on the other hand, was delighted although obviously a bit frustrated over Mission Impazible’s near-miss in the Donn.

Mission Impazible was beaten a nose by Hymn Book after opening a clear lead at the eighth pole and then drifting through midstretch under jockey Javier Castellano.

“He ran great but it was a tough beat to run that well and just get nosed out like that,” said Pletcher. “He’s already finished second in a couple of other big races and I thought we might finally get lucky there and get his nose down on the wire first this time. I think the horse got a little idle after making the lead and Javier let him drift out a little to see that other horse [Hymn Book] coming but he just had a little too much momentum. Our horse fought back gamely and had his nose in front again after the wire.”

Pletcher said Mission Impazible’s next start would likely come in defense of his title in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap at the Fair Grounds.