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Preakness Champion Shackleford to Run in the Belmont Stakes
Can Shackleford find his Preakness form once again and capture the Belmont? (AP Images)
With the 2011 Belmont Stakes less than one week it seemed appropriate to take stock once again of some of this year’s higher profile runners. Who better to start with then the winner of the 2011 Preakness Stakes? Shackleford is now confirmed to run at Elmont and will no doubt be one of the favorites.
Shackleford was one of the horses that we profiled here at the Beat for the Preakness and in retrospect it looks pretty spot on given his Pimlico performance. Here is a quick summary:
”¢ Many racing commentators felt that he was a good value bet at about 15-1 given his strong starting performances in the Florida and Kentucky Derbies
”¢ Speedster pedigree evident with sire Forestry and further back Secretariat and Northern Dancer
”¢ Shackleford led in both the Florida Derby and the Kentucky Derby until fading late. The shorter Preakness track might be just the right fit for a fast horse who doesn’t much like distance
”¢ Shackleford qualified for a $550,000 bonus from Pimlico owners Magna Entertainment if he won the Preakness based on previous finishes at Magna tracks which could be a strong incentive
There was some debate as to whether Shackleford would run in the Belmont as trainer Dale Romans wanted to ensure that the hard charging horse had the energy left to win at Elmont. With Shackleford now confirmed and having run five furlongs in a speedy 1:00.30, he will no doubt be considered a front runner to win the Belmont
There still remains the question of distance- with the Belmont Park track measured at 1 ½ miles one has to seriously question whether Shackleford’s past performances over distance point to a win. However, one never discounts a winner of an elite race and as such Shackleford will most likely be one of three horses to beat.
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