08/03/2012 3:56PM

Saratoga: Shackleford using Vanderbilt as prep for Forego

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shackleford is cutting back to six furlongs in the Vanderbilt.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Shackleford’s presence in Sunday’s $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga certainly adds some spice to an already intriguing Grade 1 sprint race. It should also add some value to horses lining up against the multiple Grade 1 winner.

In a career highlighted by victories in the 2011 Preakness at 1 3/16 miles and this year’s Metropolitan Handicap at a mile, Shackleford makes his first start at six furlongs in the Vanderbilt. While trainer Dale Romans would like to win the Vanderbilt, he is using the race as a prep for the Grade 1 Forego here on Sept. 1.

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“It’s important, but it’s not the end-all,” Romans said Friday morning. “It’s a little different coming in with a horse like Shackleford; his r é sum é is what it is. It’s more of a stepping-stone to keep him going to get to another race. It’s not one of those races that’s going to increase his value, but it’d be a nice one to win.”

Shackleford won the Met Mile on May 28, but it took him a little longer than usual to recover from the race. In mid-July, Shackleford began to bounce back and Romans was faced with the decision to train him up to the Forego or run him once beforehand.

“Win, lose, or draw, this moves him forward,” Romans said. “He’s always been a horse that’s run well when he’s running back to back.”

Emcee is the only member of this eight-horse field who has yet to win a stakes. He has certainly run several races that would be good enough to do just that. In March, Emcee finished third, a length behind Calibrachoa in the swiftly run Grade 3 Tom Fool at Aqueduct. He came back in the Grade 1 Carter and broke horribly, which cost him and he finished fourth in a five-horse field.

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On Kentucky Derby Day, Emcee won a second-level allowance race at Belmont Park by 4 1/2 lengths, earning a 107 Beyer Speed Figure, his third figure of 107 or higher in his five-race career.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin wasn’t planning on waiting three months to run Emcee again, but he couldn’t find a suitable spot for the son of Unbridled’s Song, who is owned by Shiekh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing. Emcee has good early speed, and breaking from post 2 Alan Garcia will likely use it.

“We’re going to have to let Alan decide out of the break, because if we break running it’s hard to take back from the inside,” McLaughlin said.

Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out the uncoupled entry of Justin Phillip and Rothko. Justin Phillip was a hard-luck loser in the Grade 2 True North at Belmont on June 9, then got beat by Royal Currier in the Mr. Prospector at Monmouth, a race in which Justin Phillip stumbled at the start.

Ramon Dominguez, who won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens aboard Justin Phillip 14 months ago, rides him for the first time since last August, when Justin Phillip finished third in the King’s Bishop here.

“With the meet he’s having and the success that he had on Justin Phillip, it’s a very good opportunity,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We say that realizing how good Shackleford is and how fast Emcee has run.”

Rothko came from the off the pace to win the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill on June 2. He finished second to the locally based Wiredfortwotwenty in the $125,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap.

“Didn’t plan on him losing,” Asmussen said. “The local horse that obviously runs incredible there beat him.”

Rothko did win a maiden race here last summer, making him the only member of this field who owns a win over the track.

Julien Leparoux rides Rothko from post 4.

Jersey Town is seeking his first win since the 2010 Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. Chronic foot problems have limited him to five starts since, but they seem to be in check for the moment.

Hamazing Destiny, winner of the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap two back, Sloane Ranger, and Poseidon’s Warrior complete the field.

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Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
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Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Now watch me get tagged/flagged for "offensive language" for replying to a disrespectful spammer
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
At the play yard of thieves,anything is possible,,stiff jobs reign.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Not this time Ray... The Man all but said DON'T bet your money.
mrm More than 1 year ago
Shack's effort in the Vanderbilt sets him up perfectly for the Forego.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow ...Can't believe there is a 'Frankel' discussion going on here. I thought this was the Vanderbilt. .nicola c, andneighsayer...liked your posts and comments. Seems that there is no East coast or West coast bias when Frankel is thrown into the soup. I have seen this same converstaion , just substitue 'Accclimation . I like Frankel, and I look forward to his 1 1/4 M race on Aug 22 in UK . The original entries are 19 hoses So let's see who wants to run against him, then. I do agree that if your horse is so goood, why can't American owners ship to UK to race against that competition. Why is it always bring them to USA and the Breeders Cup? ..anyway i digress Good luck to Shacklefords connections , regardless of their goal for this race. Myself, personally like Justin Phillips. As VQ would say, peace :) SR Vegas
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
..for International racing fans, Frankel goes in the Juddmonte International at York on Aug 22. 10 furlongs. With 19 entries, many who are Group I winners. SR Vegas
Jordan More than 1 year ago
racing is disgustingly crooked.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Would you care to elaborate? Maybe you and Ray Sousa can get together and compare notes.
Jack More than 1 year ago
This is the TROUBLE, Horse's "WORKING- OUT" IN A $400,000 Race. Large sums of MONEY going in the WRONG direction. Retired Millonaires at age 3. Million dollar races with 6 Horse fields, this ONCE Great game is TOTALLY out of control. You'll have to have a 20 Million dollar race to insure EVERYONE is really trying.Dale Romans can PREP this Horse on his OWN DIME not the PUBLIC'S....................
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Jack, Dude, He made this known up front !!!
Edward King More than 1 year ago
That Don't make it right......Jack you are so right.................Trainers should be fined for stuff like this...................By the way The 7 horse with Barclay Tagg is gonna win....
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
And how would you describe what happened at Mouseketeer yesterday?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
This has been going on since racing began. Horses are preped everyday for future races. You people jumping on a man who is up front with you make me ill. Guess you rather hear excuses post race after you have lost your money. Look @ the workouts, read the article and make your own beds.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Sorry guys, even if he publishes it on the NY Times front page, it doesn´t make it right. There are a bunch of people who go to the tracks to have a good time who don't have access to what the trainer said. You want to make it fair, let him run excluded from betting. There are too many variables such as if a trainer knows his horse is doing great but to ward people off said trainer says "well this isn´t my main goal, I am training him for..........." and the horse wins by daylight?
Phil D More than 1 year ago
Shack is one of my fav's, he just brings it, I'm going to Saratoga now to scream him to victory at the rail! GO SHACK GO!
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
Bring on that pretender Frankel to take on Shackelford. He will have his hands full. Cut the crap with those set up races and telling us that he's the greatest of all time. come over here and try this colt and leave the phony races behind.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Frankel would kill him, and if shack is so good bring him to ascot for champions day big purse, 1m2f, no drugs, and Undulating track not a glorified greyhound sandbox, don't get me wrong i love shack but don't talk smack & why do u think that if he isn't all that he has to go there to the self proclaimed world championship to prove himself. u should of kept the pro ride at Santa Anita because the dirt is an x on the checklist of most Europeans, just like if shack came for champion day, he would have to x the distance the no drugs and the track more than likely . oh and u doubt how great he is but your talking about him on a post that has nothing to do with him if u truly believe he isn't all that why bother even mentioning him at all.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
I might have said that differently but could not have said it better. Franky rarely makes any sense. Of course his comment is ridiculous and out of context and suprised he didn't bring up secratariat as well. I think you hit all the points perfectly.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
thanks neigh sayer, i just read it & was like where did that come from, and i love u.s racing ,sometimes i feel when u give an opinion in favor of a euro horse over a u.s horse someone sees that & wants to turn that into euros vs american, which is silly as they are both so different
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
Shak would give Frankel everything he could handle, and more. Beating up glorified allowance horses over there isn't impressive. Shack will put plenty of hot air on Frankel's neck. Don't be so offended. Frankel's connections wouldn't sleep the night before this matchup.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
Ok then. So see if you can talk Shack's owners into sending him to Europe to run on the grass at 1 1/4 miles which might be Frankel's next race. Yea, sounds silly when you say it out loud doesn't it Franky. Good luck with that.
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
Frankel has't gone beyond a mile yet and he's a 4 year old. Another quarter mile is a huge difference. If you are going to argue that, stop wasting my time because you don't know what you are talking about. There is FAR from any guarantee that Frankel can continue to beat the glorified allowance horses over there gong another quarter of a mile. Shackelford on the other hand, won the Preakness at a mile and three sixteenths as a three year old. Now, he is showing his class and versatility by winning in shorter races against the sport's iron. Shack has proven he can win at a classic distance. Frankel has not. Any questions?
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
Franky, what Frankel does or doesn't do has nothing to do with this. I don't know what I'm talking about?? You seem to have missed the insanity of your own original argument and are now arguing with yourself. By the way I bet Shack in the Preakness. So what. Let me know when Shack is on the plane to Europe to take on Frankel. You're funny Franky.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
Frankel will race the juddmonte at 1m2f and on champions day in between he might go to France for a group 1 mile race just to get the run in because if he just did the juddmonte then champions he would be waiting from Aug to Oct for a run, and after watching shacks race there i think Frankel has nothing at all to worry about, like i didn't think he would of had if shack won, so say something else blame the off track and then find a reason to bring Frankel into it because deep down u love him, as Anonymous said this is about the vanderbilt Frankel shouldn't of been brought up here. and that is the last i will say on this story on the phenom that is Frankel
Frank Altieri More than 1 year ago
That's OK. Shack is still maybe the best horse in training. When he's on his game, he's dangerous for anybody. Hopefully he cools out OK and there's nothing wrong with him.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
Someone better check the bridges for Franky.
SR Vegas More than 1 year ago
hey nicola c the 'anonymous you referred to is SR Vegas...sometimes the software doesn't always pick up your name/moniker, so I always sign off with my name. If you like some fun discussion , come by Dan Illmans blog ...we have a cast of characters :) ..and some intelligent, rational opinions regarding International racing come up. SR Vegas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We need more trainers like Romans. He runs his horses and takes his chances. He wins plenty of them. Better than trainers that duck horses and pick their spots. Romans isn't scared like other trainers. He's not ducking anybody. Racing would be better if we had more trainers like Romans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think 6f is right up his alley. Every time Romans used to run him in a route everybody would say Shac belonged in sprints, Now that he's in sprints he's not running far enough. Make up you're mind people. Shac should roll tomorrow. He is a sprinter.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
This horse is way too big to be effective at 6 panels.