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Nov 30, 2012

Shackleford captures Clark Handicap in final start


Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Shackleford, making his final career start, won Friday's $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old colt will now go on to a career as a stallion.

Trained by Dale Romans, Shackleford went off as the 5-2 co-favorite along with Lunar Victory in the nine-horse field. Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy and Super Derby champ Bourbon Courage were each 5-1.

With Jesus Castanon in the saddle, Shackleford set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile stakes while racing three-wide. The colt remained on the outside with the lead around the final turn. At the top of the stretch Shackleford had a 2 1/2- length advantage over Take Charge Indy who had been racing second the entire time.

Shackleford, owned by Michael Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge and Phillips Racing Partnership, drifted out a bit down the stretch but was able to post a length victory over Take Charge Indy with Bourbon Courage getting up for third.

Rounding out the order of finish were Lunar Victory, Mission Impazible, Cease, Stealcase, Fast Falcon and Eye of the Leopard. Pool Play was an early scratch.

Shackleford covered the distance in 1:49.12 on a fast track.

"He's ready to move on to his next career," Romans said. "He's got it all -- the looks, speed, winning at a mile and a royal pedigree. He should hit as a stallion."

Shackleford adds $266,054 to his bankroll which closes with more than $3.1 million. The 4-year-old concludes his racing career with six wins in 20 starts.

"He ranks right up there with some of the best horses I've trained," Romans noted. "He's done all he needs to do, but it'll be hard to see him go. Horses like him are hard to replace. He's my first classic winner and that means a lot. My favorite memory of him was when he hit the wire in the Preakness.

"You always hope you'll have another come along, but you never know. When I had my first Grade I horse (Roses in May), I thought I'd never have another one. Some others have come along, but Shacklefords are few and far between."

The 4-year-old, who will be retired to stud at Darby Dan Farm, won last year's Preakness Stakes and was runner-up in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. This year he captured the Churchill Downs Stakes and Met Mile, but could do no better than seventh in the Dirt Mile at Santa Anita as the 5-2 co-favorite.

Shackleford returned $7.80, $4.80 and $3.40. Take Charge Indy paid $6.80 and $4.40, and Bourbon Courage paid $4.00 to show.

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