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Shackleford was one of only a few horses who ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown series in 2012. The Dale Roman’s trained thoroughbred won the Preakness, but went seven races before finally finding the winner’s circle again in Louisville at the Grade II Churchill Downs Stakes earlier this month. This past Sunday at Belmont Park, Shackleford would be looking for another victory, this time in the Grade I Metropolitan Mile.

Right out of the gate Shackleford and jockey John Velazquez went to the front of the field in the one-mile event. Shackleford was able to lead the entire way, holding off an early challenge from To Honor and Serve. As the race wore on, Shackleford continued to lead, but never pulled away, leaving the door open for Caleb’s Posse, a closer, to make gains. At the top of the stretch, Caleb’s Posse was being pushed hard by jockey Rajiv Maragh as he flew by To Honor and Serve and challenged the front-runner. The charge came too late as Shackleford was able to hold on and claim a narrow victory. Caleb’s Posse and Shackleford have formed quite a rivalry over the past year as they have squared off four times, and Sunday’s race probably won’t be the last.

The win qualified Shackleford for the Dirt Mile in the Breeders’ Cup this fall in Santa Anita. Trainer Dale Romans was quite excited with the victory and gave his four-year-old all the credit; “It’s as good a race as we’ve seen in a long time. He laid it all on the line. This was our goal from the beginning of the year. He’s as gutsy as they come. Hopefully, he’ll get the credit he deserves. He’s a spectacular horse.” {1} The Metropolitan Mile was the 16th start for Shackleford in his career and he’s finished in the money ten times, including 6 wins. It appears there is plenty of racing still left in Shackleford’s future.

{1} http://espn.go.com/horse-racing/story/_/id/7981194/shackleford-hangs-gamely-win-g1-met-mile

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