Thursday, 31 May 2012
: Last year's Preakness winner Shackleford led from start to finish to win the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, kicking off what could be a big week for his trainer Dale Romans.
Romans is hoping to stop the Triple Crown bid by I'll Have Another in Saturday's Belmont Stakes with Dullahan.
Shackleford's win earned him an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita, a race in which he finished second behind Caleb's Posse in 2011.
He got his revenge in the Metropolitan, reversing the placings on Caleb's Posse by a nose. They have now met four times with a 2-2 scoreline between the pair.
Shackleford went through a seven-race drought following his Preakness win before taking the G2 Churchill Downs Handicap prior to the Metropolitan.
“He beat the best today,” said Romans.
“It's as good a race as we've seen in a long time. He laid it all on the line.
"Hopefully, he'll get the credit he deserves. He's a spectacular horse.
"We have no idea what we're going to do next. This was the goal from the beginning of the year, and we made it here and we'll regroup and figure out what to do to get to the Breeders' Cup.
"Caleb's Posse is a great horse, and it's a good rivalry.
"To be a nose apart at the wire, I think it lived up to the hype.”
Donnie Von Hemel, the trainer of Caleb's Posse, said he was pleased with the effort, the colt's third
consecutive photo finish loss by a neck, a nose and a nose.
"We'll get over this. For him to overcome the track bias and run like that, we're very proud of him," Von Hemel said.