Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Winner gets overlooked

Preakness winner Shackleford, getting in some work with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar, is still labeled an underdog.

Associated Press

Preakness winner Shackleford, getting in some work with exercise rider Faustino Aguilar, is still labeled an underdog.

NEW YORK — Talk about a tough crowd.

Dissed by the owner of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom one day, dismissed as the third betting choice for the Belmont Stakes another, Preakness winner Shackleford is still considered an underdog for Saturday's final leg of the Triple Crown.

What's trainer Dale Romans to think about his long, lanky 3-year-old colt?

"He's not getting the respect he deserves," Romans said Thursday at Belmont Park, where racing was canceled for the day because of temperatures approaching 100 degrees. "Let's see what happens after the race."

Shackleford has been getting the cold shoulder for months, having been sent off at odds of 68-1, 23-1 and 12-1 in his past three races.

"Every race he's run in he's been a long shot, and he's run well in every one of them," Romans said of Shackleford's starts since a fifth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26. "And he's improved with every race. There are very few horses that have moved forward the more work they did. A lot stay the same, but he keeps getting better."

At 1½ miles, the Belmont is the longest and most grueling test a 3-year-old will face. It's a distance horses have yet to run and are unlikely to do so again. Pedigree reveals which horses are bred for distance, and that's likely why Animal Kingdom's owner Barry Irwin is ignoring Shackleford — the son of a sire known for producing sprinters.

"I can't see a horse by Forestry going a mile and a half," Irwin said after volunteering that he wasn't worried about Shackleford.

That's okay with Romans. Pedigree notwithstanding, he's figuring Shackleford will set a moderate pace then try to hold off his 11 rivals. The plan nearly worked in the Derby, and worked to perfection in the Preakness.

Conspicuous absence: For the first time since 1993, the Hall of Fame trio of trainers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert and Nick Zito will not have a horse in the Belmont.

They have combined to win seven Belmonts since then — Lukas leading the way with four. Zito has won twice and Baffert once.

Of the 12 trainers in this year's race, only Todd Pletcher owns a Belmont win: the 2007 edition when the filly Rags to Riches beat Curlin, the eventual horse of the year, by a head.

Stay Thirsty is the 11th Belmont runner for Pletcher, the five-time Eclipse Award winner as the nation's leading trainer.

.FAST FACTS

143rd Belmont Stakes

Saturday, 6:30 post time, Belmont Park, Elmont, N.Y. TV: Ch. 8

Winner gets overlooked 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 9:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White

    Footballpreps

    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season

    Footballpreps

    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined

    Bucs

    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]