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Preakness champ Shackleford probable for Belmont; Animal Kingdom hopeful to run


Preakness winner Shackleford looks to be “better than 50-50″ to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11, according to trainer Dale Romans, who met with the media this morning at Pimlico Race Course.

Romans said he will monitor Shackleford, fourth in the Kentucky Derby, for a couple of days before making the decision. The son of Forestry came ouf of Saturday’s 136th Preakness Stakes showing no signs of wear.

“If he trains like he did going into the Derby, I don’t know why we would pass,” Romans said. “I think it’s better than 50-50.”

Shackleford received a 104 Beyer Speed figure for his Preakness win.

As for a rubber-match with Animal Kingdom and Shackleford, trainer Graham Motion wasn’t making any commitment the day after his Kentucky Derby winner finished second in the Preakness.

“I think we’ve got to give him a week,” Motion said. “(Team Valor CEO/owner) Barry (Irwin) and I would both love to do the Belmont, but we’ve got to give him a week to evaluate him to see how he’s doing. But we would love to do it.”

Among Preakness runners, Mucho Macho Man, who lost a shoe in the Preakness (again), is pointed for the 1.5-mile Belmont. 

Fifth-place Derby runner Master of Hounds (my pick ) and Santiva (sixth) also are looking at the Belmont.

The best horse in the Belmont might be a talented colt who didn’ t run in the Derby or the Preakness — Alternation, who won the Peter Pan Stakes, on May 14 at Belmont Park.

What looked to be another ho-hum Belmont Stakes could turn into a decent race if Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, Mucho Macho Man, Nehro, Master of Hounds, Santiva and Alternation all show up. We shall see.  

 Here are some other notes the morning after the Preakness.

*** ASTROLOGY –  Trainer Steve Asmussen said his third-place Preakness runner came out of the race well, but is unlikely to run in the Belmont Stakes. Rather, Asmussen-trained Nehro, runner-up in the Derby, is preparing for the Belmont after skipping the Preakness.

*** DIALED IN – Trainer Nick Zito said his colt was “beat up, as usual,” after the fourth-place finish in the Preakness. Dialed In, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, came out of the Preakness in good order. His status for the Belmont remains up in the air.

“You think about it, but it’s too early to tell,” Zito said.

Personally, I think Dialed In needs some time off and running in the Belmont would be a mistake. But they don’t call him New York Nick for nothing, so you never know.


*** DANCE CITY – Trainer Todd Pletcher said his fifth-place finisher in the Preakness won’t be running in the Belmont Stakes.

“We’ll regroup and freshen him up and probably get him ready for Saratoga,” said Pletcher, who now is 0-for-7 in the Preakness. “He ran a credible race.”

***  MUCHO MACHO MAN – The Kahty Ritvo-trainee reportedly lost his left front shoe during his sixth-place Preakness finish missing a shoe.

 Mucho Macho Man lost his right front shoe in a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby.

 ”It’s got to be something,” Ritvo said. “I’ve got to figure out what happened and when he lost it.”

Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby, vanned to Belmont Park this morning and is being pointed to the Belmont Stakes.

“We’re on,” Ritvo said. “We just have to see how he comes out of this race.”

 *** KING CONGIE –  The son of Badge of Silver vanned to Belmont Park this morning. Trainer Tom Albertrani said no definite plans have been made for his colt’s next race.

I’m guessing it will be a turf race, and not the Belmont.

*** MR. COMMONS – The John Shirreffs-trainee emerged in good condition from the Preakness and was shipped back to California today.

 *** ISN’T HE PERFECT – The ninth-place finisher in the Preakness could be a candidate for the Belmont Stakes, according to New York-based trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal, who flew back to New York Saturday night.

*** SWAY AWAY – Trainer Jeff Bonde said Sway Away, who ran a disappointing 12th in the Preakness, will definitely not run in the Belmont. Sway Away was in good shape after the race, a groom at Pimlico said.

***MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE – The Bob Baffert-trainer, after flopping in the Derby and the Preakness, is headed for a career on turf. 

 “My horse is too heavy and strong to handle deeper, sand tracks back here,” Baffert said. “He needs it firm. I think at the end of the day he might be a really good turf horse that wants to settle and come running and go on further.”

Baffert will decide in the next week whether to run Jaycito, knocked off the Derby trail with an injury, will run in the Belmont Stakes.

***FLASHPOINT – Trainer Wesley Wade said his speedy 3-year-old, who finished last in the Preakness, will return to sprints.



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