06/28/2011 1:21PM

Shackleford back training toward Haskell

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Barbara D. Livingston
Shackleford is back in the barn of trainer Dale Romans after getting a short break.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Shackleford returned Tuesday morning to trainer Dale Romans at Churchill Downs following a brief respite at WinStar Farm. The 2011 Preakness winner was sent to the Versailles, Ky., farm after finishing fifth in the June 11 Belmont Stakes.

“He looks good, and they said he seemed to really enjoy his little vacation there,” said Romans.

The $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 31 at Monmouth Park remains “very much on target” for Shackleford, said Romans.

Leparoux back on top

A torrid recent surge has returned Julien Leparoux to a familiar place: the top of the Churchill jockey standings.

Leparoux, who has won or shared eight meet titles at Churchill, enters the final five-day stretch of the 39-day spring meet with a 45-40 lead over Corey Lanerie, who until recently had led the standings for most of the meet.

Leparoux spent much of the meet in third, behind Lanerie and Shaun Bridgmohan, but the last two weeks have been extremely productive. The 27-year-old Frenchman and 2009 Eclipse Award winner booted home 21 winners during that eight-day span, and with a number of promising mounts upcoming, he seems on the verge of a ninth title.

◗ John T. Ward Jr., who has had eight to 10 horses in training here this spring, will have his first start of the meet Thursday when he sends out a 3-year-old filly named Accent in the eighth race, a maiden special weight turf race.

Ward, who won the 2001 Kentucky Derby with Monarchos, has sent out one horse – Dr. Pleasure, fourth in an Indiana Downs allowance in June – since he saddled just one starter at the Keeneland spring meet.