02/07/2012 5:33PM

Gulfstream: Shackleford good to go

Barbara D. Livingston
Shackleford is scheduled to make his 2012 debut in the Donn Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Dale Romans has had no glitches when it has come to preparing Preakness winner Shackleford for his 2012 debut, which comes Saturday in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

“Everything looks good – we’re ready,” said Romans. “It looks like it’s going to be a very strong field, but we’re not about to duck anybody now.”

[COMEBACKS: Workouts and race records for Shackleford, Ruler On Ice, Animal Kingdom]

Shackleford has been assigned 119 pounds for the Donn, the same as Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice and two fewer than starting highweight Flat Out, who will carry 121 pounds. Other potential starters include Redeemed (118), Trickmeister (117), Mission Impazible (117), and Soaring Empire (116).

Colt off to belated, but good start

Trainer David Fawkes took Apriority to the Breeders’ Cup last year. Now he is hoping for more of the same from his baby brother Bahamian Squall, who launched his career with a 1 1/4-length maiden special weight victory here Sunday.

Bahamian Squall, by Gone West, was being primed to launch his career last summer at Saratoga, but a minor setback forced Fawkes to alter those plans and skip the colt’s 2-year-old season altogether.

“He got some inflammation in his ankles, so I just decided to stop on him,” said Fawkes, who trains both Apriority and Bahamian Squall for owner-breeder Donald Dizney. “I knew he was a nice horse, so I wanted to give him the opportunity to heal completely and grow up. He certainly ran well for his first start and has the potential to move forward, since he was a little green, he switched leads late, and seemed to be looking around a little bit.”

Fawkes said he is undecided where or when Bahamian Squall might return.

“He looks a lot like his brother, although he may be a little more muscular, and I’m hoping he might be able to go on a little further than Apriority,” said Fawkes. “I guess a race like the Swale could be a possibility for his next start, or we could just go for the next allowance condition. We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, Fawkes said Apriority returned none the worse for wear from his seventh-place finish as the 9-5 favorite in the Sunshine Millions Sprint. In his previous start, Apriority grabbed a quarter leaving the gate but still managed to get up for a game nose victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector.

“He seemed fine coming out of the Mr. Prospector, but I guess his foot might have still been bothering him a little in that last race,” said Fawkes. “I’ll nominate him for the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship, but it’s probably coming up a little too quick to bring him back.”

Two take drops for wins

A couple of graded stakes tested turf horses, Casino Host and Street Game, both dropped back to the allowance ranks to pick up victories here last weekend.

Casino Host, who ran in three straight Grade 1 races to close out his 3-year-old campaign, dropped down against entry-level allowance opposition to register a popular half-length decision over the promising Hothersal for trainer Chad Brown on Saturday. Street Game, a Grade 3 winner at 3, was all out to beat Plead by a nose to capture a second-level optional claimer the following afternoon.

“I’m real happy to get Casino Host back in the winner’s circle again,” said Brown. “We took some chances with him last year in Grade 1 races, and it didn’t work out, but after this race I think he’s ready to try graded stakes horses again.”

Trainer Phil Serpe brought Street Game back from hiatus of nearly six months to win for the fourth time in nine career starts.

“The race didn’t set up anything like I expected,” said Serpe. “I thought he’d be stalking the pace. Instead he came from near the back of the field. I think it was a great effort for his first start off the layoff.”