Dale Romans is a journeyman trainer. He has grown up around the sport of horse racing, training his first winner at Turfway Park in 1987. As a trainer he has collected top prizes and over 1,000 wins. His biggest wins include Tapitsfly’s victory in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and Roses In May’s victory in the Dubai World Cup in 2005. These are career changing victories, but the Triple Crown races have always eluded him. Paddy O’Prado finished a strong 3rd behind Super Saver in the 2010 Kentucky Derby. The horse looked to be a contender for the Preakness crown, but faded to sixth. However, Romans’s other horse, First Dude, finished 2nd behind Lookin At Lucky in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. It seems that Romans is always in the mix of things, but his horses just can’t get to the wire in the American Classics. This year was to be different as Shackleford won the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
Shackleford really cemented his derby status with a near win in the Florida Derby. He lost to Dialed In by a short margin. He came into the derby under the radar and finished 4th behind Animal Kingdom. The racing connections must have liked what they saw and sent him on to Baltimore to compete in the Preakness Stakes. Their decision paid off as Shackleford ran a perfect race, defeating derby champion Animal Kingdom by a half-length. The win vindicated the talented colt, his jockey Jesus Castanon, and his trainer Dale Romans. The win gave Dale the elusive victory he so strongly vied for, an American Classic race.
Shackleford broke sharply and headed toward the lead before stepping back and letting the rabbit Flashpoint open with fast fractions of :22.69, :46.87, and 1:12.01. The decision to not go to the lead as he did in the derby was rewarded. Shackleford eventually took the lead as they made their way around the second turn and never looked back. Astrology put in a big run on the inside, but the crowd roared as Animal Kingdom finally found racing room and charged down the stretch. His effort was gallant, but it was Shackleford’s performance that stole the spotlight and denied the racing world a Triple Crown for another year.
#5 Shackleford $27.20 $10.20 $6.80
#11 Animal Kingdom $4.20 $3.60
#1 Astrology $8.00
Congratulations to the winning connections of Shackleford. His colors will shine above Pimlico for the year to remind us all of his spectacular run. As of Monday, Romans has said that Shackleford is better than 50-50 to compete in the June 11th Belmont Stakes. Perhaps, he can give the racing world a journeyman’s hope for a second win. So, it’s on to the Belmont in less than 3 weeks, but for the time being enjoy the win Mr. Romans, you definitely deserve it.
Written by Big Brink