Shackleford has recently been an incredibly tough horse to predict. After failing down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby, he came back to easily win the Preakness. While he has clearly shown that he has speed, it has not resulted in a victory since the Preakness.
In fact, Shackleford was the clear favorite in the Indiana Derby but finished second. Shackleford is a horse that always starts off strong, yet has a problem actually maintaining the pace throughout the race.
Despite all that, Shackleford is a no-brainer to me to win the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. With only nine horses in this race, it makes it easier for Shackleford to use his speed without worrying about tangling up with any of the other horses.
There's also the fact that the Dirt Mile is just that. Unlike the Triple Crown races that were over a mile long, this race should be just short enough so that Shackleford's stamina should not end up being a major issue.
It goes without question that the other horses in this race have great speed as well. After all, the Dirt Mile race is meant to be a fast-paced matchup.The Factor, Wilburn and Trappe Shot are all speedy horses with better odds than Shackleford, and they will be looking to defeat the big name in the race.
While the other horses may have that motivation, Shackleford should have no problem winning for one reason other than his speed: he's due. He's had four winless races since the Preakness, and Shackleford is certainly a better horse than his record has been showing.
Also, Shackleford is on the inside track in the second position along with The Factor. Since Shackleford has great acceleration and can break through without a problem, this will certainly work to his advantage.
Once all this is looked at together, it's really no question that this will be the race where fans will again see the Shackleford that they saw in the Preakness Stakes.