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Shackelford Wins Preakness 136
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The Preakness Stakes once again proved to be the Kentucky Derby’s twisted sister.  High hopes of Triple Crown glory dashed in under two minutes.  Must be the same feeling as having a winning lottery ticket, then when you look again, you are one digit off.  Ecstasy followed by devastation; they call it ‘The Preakness’.

With my attention glued to the Triple Crown hopeful, Animal Kingdom, throughout the race, I was of course, disappointed by the outcome.  Replaying the race again and again, I began to feel uplifted by so many things about this race.  Realizing that I just witnessed a fantastic race run by great horses, my appreciation grew quickly for the outcome of the 136th running of the Preakness. 

Shackelford’s recovery following his fourth place finish in the Kentucky Derby was astounding.  You could call it less of a recovery and more of a continuation of his training.  His notable high energy level and spunkiness didn’t skip a beat post Derby. 

During the post parade, the Dale Romans trainee was quite rank, bucking and kicking, working up a considerable sweat.  Normally, this type of behavior results in a poor outcome in the race for that horse, and reporters commented that he looked “spent”.  Even as they loaded the sweaty colt into the gates, I didn’t see a “spent” horse, only a sweaty horse that was ready to explode on the track.  Shackelford clearly was going to set quick early fractions.  From post position five, Shackelford was so frantic that he stumbled out badly at the break, but rebounded quickly to challenge Flashpoint for the pace, hanging just off of the grey colt.

Around the first turn and after a blazing quarter of :22.3, Shackelford went three wide and maintained a clear path ahead.  Into the backstretch, Flashpoint’s leading margin increased up to ½ length.  After the half in :46.4, Shackelford was battling Flashpoint for the lead.  When the two were three furlongs out from the wire, Flashpoint gave in as Shackelford pulled away. 

An easy victory did not lay in Shackelford’s future. He held off an attempt for the lead from Dance City to the outside and Astrology to the inside.  As Shackelford pulled away from the two challengers in the final furlong, one last adversary rivaled the blazed colt for the win.  From the outside, Animal Kingdom was quickly closing on the leader.  With the finish line approaching rapidly, the two equine warriors shifted to a higher gear for the final push to the end.  Shackelford would deny us all a 2011 Triple Crown winner by a stunning ½ length. 

A race to remember throughout my lifetime.  The internal drive exhibited by Shackelford to finish the race so strongly, matched with his physical ability, was thrilling to watch.  The Preakness Stakes 136 will be remembered as a great race because of this son of Forestry.   

Shackelford has an outstanding pedigree, being by the fifteen year old powerhouse, Forestry, and out of Oatsee, by Unbridled.  I really do love this sound breeding brought to life by Mike Lauffer, and Bill Cubbedge, who also own Shackelford. 

Forestry, by Storm Cat, and out of Shared Interest, by Pleasant Colony; was obviously a very striking colt from the beginning, selling for $1.5 million at the 1997 Keeneland July Sale for yearlings as the sales topper.  Only running as a three year old, he had a remarkable racing career.  Forestry finished in the money in all but one of his eleven lifetime starts, including the GI King’s Bishop, and GII Dwyer, both won by this special bay colt who found his greatest success at relatively shorter distances.

Going into his stud career, he showed great promise, with not only a distinguished racing record, but also substantial conformation and pedigree.  He resembles a brick house, with his thick neck, and amazing shoulder.  I can easily see where Shackelford inherited those massive hind legs, powerful hindquarters, and depth through the heart girth.  Wow, what a horse.

   

Forestry does not fall short with his bloodlines.  Being by Storm Cat alone is almost irresistible, but there is more to this proven sire.  Not only is his dam, Shared Interest, a GI winner, but she is also a GI winning producer aside from Forestry, being the dam of Cash Run, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and also went on to be a Graded Stakes producer.

Consistency seems to run in the family, because Forestry’s second dam, Surgery, is also a Graded Stakes producer aside from Shared Interest.   A solid pedigree also backs up this proven broodmare, being not only by the legendary Dr. Fager, but also being a ¾ sister to the dam of Mr. Prospector.  Surgery’s broodmare sire is Bold Ruler, most famous for siring 1973 Triple Crown winner, Secretariat.  This was a smart mating by Robert Evans, because Terlingua (dam of Storm Cat) is by Secretariat.

Oatsee brings in more success to add to Shackelford’s bloodlines.  She is also a GI Stakes producing broodmare, being the dam of Bagharia, and Alabama Stakes winner, Lady Joanne.  At the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale of 2008, Oatsee, in foal to pensioned sire, A.P. Indy; sold for $1.55 million to My Meadowview Farm. 

This striking chestnut colt is a result of seamless line breeding by Mike Lauffer, and Bill Cubbedge.  When selecting a sire, they obviously kept in mind how well horses by Forestry and out of Unbridled mares performed on the racetrack.  Forestry and Unbridled cross so well because Unbridled is by Fappiano, who is by Mr. Prospector, and out of a Dr. Fager mare.  Though there is no In Reality on Forestry’s side, I love to see a mare with two crosses of that great sire bred to Forestry, because I believe the stallions are so similar.

I began researching Shackelford following his second place in the Florida Derby.  He was growing more impressive to me, between his pedigree and strong performances leading up to the Kentucky Derby.  I discovered a picture of him as a yearling in the 2009 Keeneland Association September Yearling Sale.  Upon seeing this picture, I literally fell out of my seat!  Look at those legs, legs, legs!

What a fantastic looking yearling! I wonder how this colt didn’t manage to sell for top price, instead having to be bought back because the reserve of $275,000 was not met.  Shocking. 

The more I know of this horse, the more I become convinced that he is not just a great performer, but will also become one of thoroughbred racing’s top sires given his pedigree and outstanding physical assets.  I feel fortunate to be able to watch this horse and his get over the years to come.     

There is a quality about Shackelford that I gravitate to, that for any other horse, I would consider it a negative. It’s that boundless energy and spirit during the minutes before the race seemingly charging him up, like football players before they run onto the field, or the Rebel Yell as the Confederates charged towards the Union soldiers.  I believe Shackelford without his pre-race Rebel Yell would be less of a Shackelford.      

To see Shackelford's yearling photo, refer to Shackelford's Facebook page.

For more on Forestry, refer to:   http://www.taylormadestallions.com/horses/forestry-945.html

 


 

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