One Last Shack Attack

May 21, 2011: Shackleford’s winning stretch drive in the Preakness.

In honor of Shackleford’s final race today—a win in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap—here’s a photo of his first Grade 1 win!

2011 marked my first visit to Pimlico. I’d always wanted to go to the Preakness, but it just never seemed to work out. I went to the ’11 Kentucky Derby and decided that I had to make it to the Preakness, too. After all, Baltimore is only a 5 hour drive for me. I found someone on eBay at the last minute who was selling front row seats in the stretch for face value, so I went ahead and bought them. It turns out that he reserves the same box every year, but he doesn’t always have enough people to fill all the seats (8 people per box at Pimlico). We kept in contact, and I got the same seats for ’12 and will get them again in ’13. The same people sit next to each other year after year because of the way this ticketing system works, so it’s like a little reunion every year.

I fell in love with Shackleford early in ’11 and never looked back. He first caught my eye because he’s named after Shackleford Banks, which is in my home state of NC. After he ran such a game race to Dialed In in the Florida Derby, I knew he had some big races to come. He’s such a beautiful colt and seems to have a huge personality, so it’s no real surprise that he has such a fan following.

The camera loves Shack, and mine is no exception. I would bet that I have at least 2,000 of him alone, which is due in part to the fact that he showed up at so many major racing events throughout the last two years. Sound, gorgeous, and ended his career as a winner. I’m happy he’s on to what will hopefully be a solid stud career at Darby Dan, but sad that we won’t get to see him prancing out onto the track again.

Kudos to Dale Romans and company for keeping Shackleford fit and happy, and to Jesus Castanon and John Velazquez for piloting him home safely every time!

May 21, 2011: First time past the stands in the Preakness. Left to right: Dance City, Midnight Interlude, Shackleford, Flashpoint.