07/14/2012 3:29PM

Shackleford to target Forego rather than Whitney


It appears as though Shackleford will be kept in races at a mile or shorter – at least for the foreseeable future.

On Saturday, trainer Dale Romans said Shackleford would not run in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, a two-turn 1 1/8-mile race, at Saratoga on Aug. 4. Instead Shackleford will be pointed to the Grade 1, $500,000 Forego, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga on Sept. 1. Romans left the door open for a start in the Grade 1, $400,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt, a six-furlong race on Aug. 5.

“The Forego, Kelso and [Breeders’ Cup Dirt] Mile is the most logical path to take, but with that being said sometimes I don’t do the most logical things,” Romans said. “There’s a chance we could show up in the Vanderbilt if I felt he was doing really well and use it more as a training tool than anything.”

Also, Romans didn’t entirely rule out running Shackleford in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. The Dirt Mile is run around two turns, while the Classic is run at 1 1/4 miles, also around two turns.

“When it comes to the Breeders’ Cup, I’m never going to rule out the Classic until the day of entries,” Romans said.

Romans said that it took Shackleford a little bit longer than usual to recover from his hard-fought victory over Caleb’s Posse in the Grade 1 Met Mile at Belmont on May 28. Romans said it has been only in the last couple of weeks where Shackleford has shown his old spunk. On Saturday, Shackleford worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Churchill Downs, the fastest of 12 moves at the distance.

“That Met Mile performance took a little bit out of him,” Romans said. “We gave him a little break at WinStar. He never got back on his toes until the last couple of weeks. Today, he was back on his game. That was his old self.”

Romans said Shackleford, last year’s Preakness winner, would work again next Saturday at Churchill.

Dullahan works toward Haskell

Also Saturday, Romans sent out multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan for a five-furlong work in 1:01.60 in preparation for a start in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 29.

Dullahan won the Blue Grass on synthetic and finished third in the Kentucky Derby. After skipping the Preakness, he ran a disappointing seventh in the Belmont Stakes as the 5-2 favorite.

Romans said he and owner Jerry Crawford want to give Dullahan one more try on dirt before possibly returning to the turf later in the summer.

“We’re going to give him one last chance in the Haskell,” Romans said. “If he runs big that’s great. If we find he just isn’t as good on the dirt then we’ll take him to the Secretariat at Arlington in August.”

Romans said that he wants to prove to potential breeders that Dullahan, a half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, can be successful on dirt.

“If he can win a big race on dirt he’ll get a big chance in Lexington to be a top sire,” Romans said. “If you’re strictly considered a turf or synthetic horse . . . you can get it done like Kitten’s Joy, but it’s more of an uphill battle.”

Speaking of turf, Romans scratched Silver Max out of Saturday’s American Derby at Arlington and will point him to next Saturday’s Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. Romans also plans to run Finnegan’s Wake in that race.

* At Saratoga Wood Memorial runner-up Alpha worked five furlongs in a bullet 58.88 seconds over the main track. He is being pointed to the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 28.