Preakness winner Shackleford arrived at Belmont Park just before 10 a.m. ET today and was prounounced "looking good" by Scotty Everett, assistant to trainer Dale Romans.
Shackleford was transported by van from Churchill Downs and left Louisville at about 5:00 p.m. ET yesterday. “We are excited to have him here at Belmont,” Everett said.
Shackleford, a 3-year-old son of Forestry out of the Unbridled mare Oatsee, will walk the shedrow at Romans’ barn tomorrow before going to the track on Wednesday, Romans said. The trainer and majority owner Mike Lauffer told this reporter last night that Shackleford is expected to breeze at Belmont this coming weekend, after which a final decision on his Belmont status is expected.
An affirmative answer would set up a rubber match between Shackleford and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, just the 20th time in the history of the Triple Crown that the Derby and Preakness winners have squared off in the Belmont.
Shackleford, whose half-sister Lady Joanne won the Grade I, 1 1/4-mile Alabama at Saratoga in 2007, will seek to become the nineteenth horse to complete the Preakness-Belmont double, a feat last accomplished by Afleet Alex six years ago.
Point Given (2001), Tabasco Cat (1994), Hansel (1991), Risen Star (1988), Little Current (1974), Damascus (1967), Nashua (1955), Native Dancer (1953), Capot (1949), Bimelech (1940), Pillory (1922), Man o’ War (1920), Belmar (1895), Saunterer (1881), Grenada (1880), Duke of Magenta (1878), and Cloverbrook (1877) were the only others to win the second and third legs of the Triple Crown without having won the Derby.
Shackleford has a lifetime record of 3-1-0 from seven starts with career earnings of $1,471,666.
--Edited track release with additional content by Dick Downey
--Photo by NYRA, Adam Coglianese