05/05/2011 10:58AM

Kentucky Derby: Romans hopeful Shackleford can carry his speed a long way


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Regardless of what horse you may like to win the 137th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, there is little doubt that two speedy horses should be prominent for at least a fair portion of the way: Comma to the Top and Shackleford.

Of that pair, there seems to be greater sentiment that Shackleford is more inclined to hang around for the end. The colt is 12-1 on the morning line, while Comma to the Top is 30-1.

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“I think he’s going to run his race,” said trainer Dale Romans. “Obviously, you’d like to see him relax and really get into a nice stride, and hopefully they can avoid going all that fast. I love the way he’s been doing in the mornings. There’s always the chance that the crowd and everything might get him keyed up, but he’s a pretty smart horse. I just hope he settles and goes on with it.”

Shackleford was the narrowly beaten runner-up in the Florida Derby – the same credentials that Romans’s first Derby starter, Sharp Humor, brought to the 2006 running after being defeated by Barbaro. Unfortunately, Sharp Humor incurred an injury in the Derby when finishing 19th.
Romans, a 44-year-old Louisville native, had his second Derby starter last year when Paddy O’Prado fared far better by finishing third.

“Looks like we’re headed in the right direction,” Romans said with a grin.