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Dale Romans grew up on the Churchill Downs backstretch learning his trade from longtime trainer and father Jerry Romans. The Louisville, Ky native just missed winning the 2010 Kentucky Derby when Paddy O’ Prado finished a game third. Dullahan was a fast closing third in Kentucky Derby 138 and would follow that up with a win in the G-1 Pacific Classic. In 2011 he won his first Classic race when Shackleford captured The Preakness Stakes. He saddled Court Vision to an upset win in the Breeders Cup Turf Mile in 2011 and captured the Breeders Futurity with Dullahan. 2012 was a banner year for the Romans stable with wins by Shackleford in the G-1 Met Mile and G-1 Clark Handicap and Little Mike's gallant victories in the G-1 Woodford Reserve, Arlington Million and Breeders' Cup Turf. His other top runners include O'Prado Again, Sassy Image, First Dude, Kitten’s Joy, Tapitsfly, and Roses in May.
Castanon, who was born in Mexico City, came to the U.S. in 1989 to begin his riding career. During that same year he found immediate success winning two stakes in Southern California. Castanon scored his first graded stakes victory when he rode Bonus Pack to win the Dominion Day (G3) at Woodbine in 2002. He has ridden over 2,000 career winners and finished fourth aboard Shackleford in Kentucky Derby 137.
Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge
Lauffer and Cubbedge have been friends for over 30 years through their natural gas business. Lauffer made his first splash in the industry when he purchased a piece of an up and coming juvenile filly named Rachel Alexandra from owner Dolphus Morrison. They sold Rachel Alexandra privately after her dominating performance in the Kentucky Oaks. In 2006, the Lauffer and Cubbedge purchased Oatsee from a broodmare sale. Oatsee proved to be a great investment as she is the mother of Shackleford, who will give the partnership their first start in the Kentucky Derby.
Though his sire is a speed influence, Shackleford has some stamina from his dam's side, and along with it a fighting chance to see out the trip.
Bred in Kentucky by his owners Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge, Shackleford is by Forestry, a son of Storm Cat. Forestry excelled in one-turn events, posting his biggest wins in the seven-furlong King's Bishop S. (G1) at Saratoga and the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer S. (G2) at Belmont. His stamina limitations were exposed in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth, where he was softened up by a taxing pace and tired late for third.
Forestry has tended to sire horses of a similar profile. His leading runner, $1.6 million earner Discreet Cat, was arguably at his best at a mile, but he did easily take the nearly nine-furlong U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2). Diplomat Lady earned her signature victory in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Starlet S. (G1), while Forest Danger's highlight came in the seven-furlong Carter H. (G1). Grade 2 winners Smokey Glacken and Carolyn's Cat, and Grade 3 scorers Forest Grove and Separate Forest, were likewise sprinters. Forestry does get the occasional router, however -- Woodlander stayed 1 1/4 miles when taking a Grade 3 on the turf, and Etched was a two-time Grade 2 winner at 1 1/8 miles.
Shackleford is bred on a similar pattern to Etched; both are out of Unbridled-line mares. Etched's dam was by Unbridled's Song, but Shackleford's dam is by Unbridled himself, a more thoroughgoing source of stamina than Unbridled's Song.
Shackleford is out of Oatsee, who broke her maiden going 6 1/2 furlongs and placed in a minor stakes at 1 1/16 miles. As a broodmare, she has proven capable of transmitting her sire's staying capacity. Bred to champion sprinter Orientate, Oatsee produced Lady Joanne, heroine of the 1 1/4-mile Alabama S. (G1) and a close second in the 1 1/8-mile Mother Goose S. (G1) and Spinster S. (G1). Oatsee's other stakes-winning foal is multiple Grade 3 queen Baghdaria, successful in the 1 1/16-mile Silverbulletday S. (G3), Iowa Oaks (G3) and Indiana Oaks (G3).
Oatsee's sire, Unbridled, is famous for turning the Kentucky Derby (G1)/Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) double in 1990, garnering champion three-year-old colt honors. The 1 1/4-mile specialist became a prominent stallion, with three of his top performers combining to give him a Triple Crown sweep at stud -- Grindstone won the 1996 Kentucky Derby, Red Bullet captured the 2000 Preakness (G1) and Empire Maker landed the 2003 Belmont S. (G1). His champion three-year-old filly Banshee Breeze registered five Grade 1 wins, including the 1 1/2-mile Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and a six-length romp in the Alabama; champion Smuggler was also a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/4 miles; and Unshaded won the 1 1/4-mile Travers S. (G1). The aforementioned Unbridled's Song, and champions Halfbridled and Anees, are other notable progeny.
Unbridled has so far exerted a greater influence as a sire of sires, but his daughters are responsible for the likes of Denis of Cork, the runner-up in the 2008 Belmont and third in that year's Kentucky Derby; Apart, the reigning Super Derby (G2) winner; multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Dream Rush; Frizette S. (G1) heroine Sky Diva; French classic-winning miler Falco; and current Derby hopeful Anthony's Cross, victorious in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2).
Oatsee hails from the same family as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Tappiano. Shackleford's fourth dam in the maternal line of descent, Taminette, is a full sister to Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1) scorer and noted sire Known Fact. Taminette is also a close relative of multiple Grade 1 star Tentam, and her half-siblings include stakes victress Secrettame, the dam of influential stallion Gone West.
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