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Breeders' Cup 2011 Entries: Shackleford is Biggest Enigma in Dirt Mile

ELMONT, NY - JUNE 10:  Exercise rider Faustino Aguilar takes Shackleford for a morning training session in preparation for the 143rd running of The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 10, 2011 in Elmont, New York.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Kyle VassaloFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2011

Handicappers have no idea what to make out of Shackleford. At his best, Shackleford has the raw speed that allowed him to win the Preakness. Despite lofty expectations by handicappers and bettors alike, Shackleford hasn't tasted victory since the Preakness.

Shackleford comes into this race with 7/2 odds, according to Bodog. For a horse that hasn't won in any of his last four races, it seems ambitious of odds makers to make him one of the favorites in this race.

This isn't just any horse, though; it's Shackleford. The mystique he left behind after his Preakness win lingers on. Shackleford is going to draw action from bettors, even with the odds he's being given. The fact that he isn't a grossly overrated even-money favorite, as he was in the Indiana Derby, certainly sparks intrigue from bettors.

Shackleford presents a catch-22. The risk is obviously tremendous, as he's more highly touted for what he's done in the past than what he's accomplished recently.

Even so, if he wins the Dirt Mile, it certainly won't be a shock to anyone. 3-1 favorite Trappe Shot is the horse to beat in this race, but he doesn't have nearly the track record Shackleford has. Trappe Shot has a history of coming close to the winner's circle, but that doesn't equate to a victory on a stage as grand as this one.

Up against this field, Shackleford is far and away the biggest enigma involved in the Dirt Mile, and frankly and other race at the Breeders' Cup. There is no telling whether he's going to take it all or fail to even show, which makes him the most intriguing horse in the race.

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