The Triple Crown trail upsets continued as the 2011 Preakness went to Kentucky Derby 4th place finisher Shackleford. You can read the entire story at Horse Racing Nation.
Will Shackleford run in the Belmont Stakes? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Shackleford pressed solid fractions and was waiting for someone to go by but there were no takers so he happily took down top honors. Animal Kingdom rallied to land the place and Astrology finished a respectable 3rd. Dialed In clunked up for 4th and disappointing 6th place finisher Mucho Macho Man had early trouble, raced wide, and reportedly threw a shoe again.
As of now, it appears as though 14-horses are under consideration for the2011 Belmont Stakes. This evenly matched group of 3-year-olds take turns beating each other and we will probably see another upset in the Test of Champions.
Pedigree means everything in the Belmont Stakes and a horse like Shackleford could be in deep water because he does his best work on or near a fast pace and that strategy won’t work at twelve furlongs.
Likely Belmont starter Santiva has the right grinding style for Big Sandy and Stay Thirsty is bred to run all day.
Master of Hounds and Nehro are logical Belmont Stakes contenders. The former has the pedigree power but has been in Dubai, Ireland, the United States and back this year and could have serious jet lag if he returns to the US. The latter remains eligible for an entry level spot and has a case of seconditis.
Animal Kingdom will probably get the trip and has a strong kick when the pace is slow. How much energy does he have in reserve following back-to-back strong efforts in Kentucky and Maryland?
I will be posting profiles of all Belmont Stakes contenders in the coming weeks…stay tuned!
Dialed In was the Kentucky Derby favorite but the best he could manage was an 8th place finish due to the slow early fractions. With a bit more pace help the Nick Zito charge might finish fast in Baltimore.
The late striding 3-year-old son of Mineshaft turned heads when he came from the clouds to win his sprint debut at Churchill Downs last fall. He did not disappoint in his eagerly anticipated second outing with a similar late running victory in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January.
Dialed In seeks Preakness pace help - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Nick Zito looked for the best way to bring his colt up to the Florida Derby and found a local allowance prep. Unfortunately, Dialed In got no pace help in a race won by his stablemate but he finished 2nd in that event and proceeded to win the Florida Derby after catching a game Shackleford.
As expected, Dialed In dropped back to 19th and last on the first Saturday in May and his chances were basically over after fractions of :48.63 and 1:13.40. He ended up passing eleven rivals at Churchill and is eligible for for a $5.5 million bonus should he capture the Preakness Stakes. If he gets honest fractions up front he may do just that!
Animal Kingdom, the upset winner of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby, came out of that race in good order and is on his way to Maryland to begin preparations for the 2011 Preakness Stakes.
Trainer Graham Motion will get Animal Kingdom ready for his next test at his Fair Hill Training Center base not far from Pimlico Race Course.
2011 Kentucky Derby show finisher Mucho Macho Man is expected to return in the Preakness, along with Shackleford, Santiva, and beaten Derby favorite Dialed In.
Speaking of Dialed In, the Nick Zito trainee is eligible for Frank Stronach’s $5.5 million bonus if he wins the second jewel of the Triple Crown. He qualified for the bonus by winning the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Numerous new shooters are expected in Baltimore, including Jerome runner-up Astrology, Arkansas Derby show finisher Dance City, and Sway Away. The latter was 21st on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list and just missed qualifying for the big dance on the first Saturday in May.