Famous fan favorite Shackleford is a pretty adaptable horse. He ships around to several different tracks, has won at various distances, and usually puts in strong morning works. Physically, he always looks outstanding, his chestnut coat gleaming. He’s never lacking in energy, especially prior to races (see Shackleford: saddling in the paddock).
Shackleford doesn’t miss a beat. Unless, that is, you take away his fast track.
Slop, mud, goo, even synthetic – they’re all Kryptonite to super Shack. He’s now 0 for 3 on off tracks after a dismal last-place performance in Sunday’s Vanderbilt Handicap, won by a longshot, Maryland-bred Poseidon’s Warrior.
“He is kind of finicky about what he runs on, and it’s been the only thing he’s been finicky about,” trainer Dale Romans said.
Was his mother a mudder? It’s hard to tell. Oatsee ran on an off track, rated “good,” just once – ironically also at Saratoga – and came in second. She also didn’t do well on turf, but Oatsee was 2 for 21 overall, so there you go.
Romans said Shackleford will forge on to the Forego at the Spa – unless, of course, the track is Spa-like.