2011 Preakness winner Shackleford is expected to make the final start of his career in Friday's Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs against a field of nine rivals (Post time: 5:35pm Eastern; TV: HRTV). He'll face a field that includes Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, Mission Impazible, Super Derby winner Bourbon Courage, and Hawthorne Gold Cup winner Pool Play.
While Churchill Downs is Shackleford's home base, it's a little curious to see him running a two-turn, nine furlong race when the Cigar Mile was on the calendar. Shack's been okay at the Clark trip (5-1-2-0) but it's probably a stretch to call it his best. Looking back over Shackleford's entire racing career, we can separate out his performances at various distances and set-ups.
Sprints (6f-7.5f): 5-2-0-1 (Wins: G2-Churchill Downs, 7f; MdSpWt, 7f)
One-turn Mile: 3-1-2-0 (G1-Met Mile)
Two-turn Mile: 1-0-0-0
Middle Distance (8.5f - 9.0f): 6-1-3-0 (Allowance N1X)
Classic (9.5f and greater): 4-1-0-0 (G1-Preakness)
Perhaps the most startling revelation when we look back at Shackleford's record is the fact that he only won three graded stakes races in his career. If feels like he's won a lot more, but ultimately that's not the case. After breaking his maiden and scoring an allowance win in his second and third lifetime starts, Shack added wins in the Preakness, the Churchill Downs and the Met Mile over the course of the last two years.
Shackleford had many memorable non-winning performances - 4th in the 2011 Kentucky Derby; 2nd in the Haskell; 2nd in the Indiana Derby; 2nd in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs; 2nd in the Kelso - and you kind of wonder how good of a horse he would have been if he'd focused more on the mile races, specifically the one-turn miles. The record above is pretty clear: in two-turn races, Shack sported a record of 11-2-3-0. In one-turn races he was 8-3-2-1. He could run well at both trips but was just a notch or two better when asked to go one turn.
Coming into the Clark, Shackleford has banked over $2.8 million, compiling a 19-5-5-1 record in the process.
Below are the entries and post positions for Friday's Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Morning line odds will be added when released.
|G1-Clark Handicap; Post time: 5:35pm Eastern|
|1||1||Pool Play||C. Lanerie||M. Casse||5/1
|2||2||Eye of the Leopard||J. Court||D. Lukas||20/1
|3||3||Shackleford||J. Castanon||D. Romans||2/1
|4||4||Bourbon Courage||L. Goncalves||K. Gorder||15/1
|5||5||Cease||M. Mena||A. Stall||5/1
|6||6||Take Charge Indy||C. Borel||P. Byrne||8/1
|7||7||Fast Falcon||S. Bridgmohan||N. Zito||15/1
|8||8||Stealcase||B. Hernandez||M. Casse||15/1
|9||9||Mission Impazible||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||5/1
|10||10||Lunar Victory||J. Alvarado||B. Mott||6/1