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Kentucky Derby: Shackleford in focus
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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SHACKLEFORD (Forestry) / D Romans / Globeform 122p


The Dale Romans trained Derby contender Shackelford took a huge step forward in the Florida Derby (G1), almost pulling off a 68-1 upset. That was quite a contrast to his run in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2), where he trailed in fifth, 23 1/2 lengths behind Soldat (who was fifth in the Florida Derby). He could be a serious player in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday. His current price is downright insulting, but that's okay!

True, he was caught by Dialed In and beaten a head in the Florida Derby, but quite why Shackelford should be a 20-1 shot for the first leg of the Triple Crown, while Dialed in the favorite, is hard to understand. If this colt had been trained by Pletcher or Baffert, he would less than half those odds. Shackleford must be the value bet in this Derby.

He reverted to the prominent running style that had earned him a comfortable allowance win over Caspar's Touch first time up this year when running so well in the Florida Derby, and revealed his talent in no uncertain manner. Make no mistake, this is a very good horse. Take Dialed In out of the race and he becomes a near seven-length winner of the Florida Derby. Shackleford has every right to improve again but will he stay 1 1/4 miles? That is probably the main concern with this son of Forestry, who himself won the King's Bishop Stakes (G1) over 7 furlongs, Dwyer Stakes (G2) over 8.5 furlongs and the San Pedro Handicap (G3) over 6.5 furlongs.

Forestry, also placed third in the 9-furlong Haskell Invitational (G1), was more about speed than stamina, as was his best runner to date, the Godolphin star Discreet Cat. Discreet Cat won the UAE Derby (G2) over 9 furlongs at three, bypassed the Triple Crown Series, then came back to win the Jerome Handicap (G2) at Belmont before producing an excellent performance in the Cigar Mile (G1) at Aqueduct. Shackleford's dam, Oatsee, is a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled. She won twice and earned $106,945. She has previously produced Lady Joanne a daughter of the sprinter Ortientate who won the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga. She also took the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at two and the Dogwood Stakes (G3) at three (both at Churchill) and ran second in the Mother Goose Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and Spinster Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. If Shackelford stays as well as Lady Joanne did he has a good chance. Oatsee is also dam of the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (G3) winner Baghdaria (Royal Academy), a filly who also landed the Silverbulletday Stakes (G3) and Iowa Oaks (G3). Her best form came over 9 furlongs.

Shackleford went to $275,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Sales, which was not up to his reserve. He already looks to be worth considerably more today and Saturday could be the day his stocks really do soar.




Last update: 2011-05-04 13:36:42 (First published: 2011-05-03 06:37:14 )

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