Shackleford, trained by Louisville’s own Dale Romans, wins the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes and denies Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom a chance for the Triple Crown. As expected, Flashpoint set sharp early fractions with the first quarter coming in 22 3/5 seconds. Shackleford stayed a half length or less behind him the entire way until they made the turn for home. At that point, Shackleford took the lead and held on strongly as Astrology and Animal Kingdom came after him.
As the Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite, all eyes were on Animal Kingdom, who began to rally toward the finish, more than seven lengths behind the leaders at the final turn. He was not able to catch Shackleford and finished a half length behind him in second. Astrology was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third. Dialed In finished fourth. The shorter distance of the Preakness definitely made a difference in this race compared to the Kentucky Derby.
“By the ¼ pole, I thought I might have a chance, but I think it was a little too much to make up,” said Animal Kingdom’s jockey John Velazquez.
Graham Motion, trainer of Animal Kingdom, makes his home in Maryland and is familiar with the Pimlico winner’s circle. A win here would have been a special treat, just as a Kentucky Derby win would have been for Louisville-based trainer Dale Romans. After Animal Kingdom’s Kentucky Derby win, Motion didn’t know how to get to the Churchill Downs winner’s circle. He happened to run into Romans in the hall who ultimately led him through the Churchill grandstands and out to the winner’s circle. However, after Roman’s Shackleford defeated Animal Kingdom in the Preakness, Romans had no problem making his way to the Pimlico winner’s circle. When asked about the race, Motion said, “Dale’s horse ran a huge race. He showed me to the winner’s circle in the Kentucky Derby, but I didn’t get to show him today.”
This was the first Preakness win and first win in a Triple Crown race for Romans. It was the first Grade 1 win for Shackleford’s jockey Jesus Castanon. Romans said of the win, “I’ve won some big races, but none as exciting as that one.”
It has not yet been decided if Shackleford and Animal Kingdom will meet again in the last leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on June 11, but the talk is that there is better than a 50% chance the meeting will occur.
Shackleford returned $27.20, $10.20, and $6.80 as the sixth choice in the field. Animal Kingdom paid $4.20 and $3.60. Astrology returned $8.00 for third. The $2 exacta paid $114.80, the $2 triple returned $1,401.80, and the $1 super paid $3,106.30.
Photo: Courtesy Preakness