Shacklefords Lady, Going Out in Style

Horse Racing Radar
Shawn Drupp
Shawn Drupp is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, June 27, 2021

How many horses go out winners? Even Zenyatta who won her first 19 races lost the last race of her career. How many horses win almost 80 percent of their wins with one jockey? How many horses have the same trainer for the entirety of their racing career? How many of those horses also have some major quirks? Well, prepare to meet Shacklefords Lady who had a career with all the above.

On Friday June 18, 2021, a horse named Shacklefords Lady closed out her career with a victory at Penn National. She is by Shackleford who had a great career. He was the 2011 Preakness Stakes winner and also the runner up in the Breeders Cup dirt mile later that year. The following year, 2012, he won the Metropolitan Handicap and the Clark Handicap.  Shacklefords Lady was also out of Dixieland Bull who was by Holy Bull.

Jockey Andrew Wolfsont, who was fittingly aboard Shacklefords Lady for her last victory, was aboard for 11 of her 14 victories. That is Andrew's highest number of wins aboard any one horse. It was Andrew's Facebook post after her last victory that brought attention to it for me to do an article on her. You could tell this horse was unique and very much loved which had me look into more about this horse.

I caught up with Andrew and he had a lot to say about Shacklefords Lady. "When she was feeling good, which was most races she would have pep in her step as soon as we got next to the pony in the post parade. I remember one start after a few seconds and thirds at the 2 other then allowance level I wasn't sure if she'd ever win again. Then we came out on to the track and she bucked so hard I almost fell of the side of her. She was just feeling so good that I knew it was her day. That race she was splitting horses and it got tight. A normal mare would've spit the bit and retreated, or have hung in between the two horses but she just pinned her ears back and bullied her way thru the small opening.  She went on to win two in a row."

I asked Andrew about her running style and it sure sounded a lot like Shackleford. He said "She had a huge stride and really reached with her neck which was fun and uncomfortable in the drive. The way Shaklefords Lady ran made it difficult for me to push on her down the lane because my arms aren't very long but she always ran hard for me regardless."

"She was so gritty throughout her career but it was especially fun in 2018 and 2019 when she was at her best. If I had her heads up with the horse to beat down the lane, she'd just pin those ears and outrun them almost every time."

I also caught up with her trainer, Michael W. Salvaggio Jr., who is the one person who could always keep Shacklefords Lady happy. In fact Mike was her trainer in all 43 of her career starts.  I talked to Mike about this horse.  "She would run with her neck stretched which would help sometimes in close finishes." That was the case in her last start where she would win by a photo. He went on to say "If you watched her closely you could see her watch and look at the other horses sometimes during the race."

"The one other major quirk she had was that she didn't like the stall. I had a handful of tricks to get her in her stall."   Mike mentioned that Shacklefords Lady had hit her hip on the stall door frame when she was very young. Since then she was always reluctant about going back in her stall.

When Shacklefords Lady was claimed away on June 8th, 2018 by Kevin Patterson and Robert Cole Jr. this became an issue. Mike said "Kevin couldn't get her in the stall so the owner Robert Cole Jr. gave her back to me but stayed the owner until he sold her back to the original owner later on." When Mike became the trainer again, she went on to win two in a row.

Andrew addressed this issue with "Luckily it never transferred to the starting gate. She was always good loading and never got bad waiting for the bell. She would dance in the gate waiting for the break though. Which usually means the horse will occasionally screw up and miss the break but once those doors opened she'd always come out sharp."

Shacklefords Lady was claimed by a local breeder Richard Miller on Friday and will be retired to be a broodmare. Shacklefords Lady didn't run in big races, in fact most of her races came at Penn National but she was a grinder. She won her debut race which was at Penn National on December 23, 2016. She went on to win her next 2 after that to start her career 3 for 3. Her first 2 starts and wins, jockey Tyler Conner was aboard. Tyler ran her one more time after that but then switched his tack to California. Tyler told me "She's a cool old mare. She was all race horse. She made it very very easy for me."  

In her career she ran 43 times and won 14 of them with 7 runner up finishes and 8 3rd place finishes. Her career earnings were $280,307. Her Owner while racing was Richard Dancsok. Her breeders were John Rio, Carole Rio, Michael Sivo & Dr. Laura Surovi-SIvo.

We thank Andrew Wolfsont, Michael W. Salvaggio Jr, and Tyler Conner for spending some time with us. We also thank Shacklefords Lady for the great career and wish her nothing but the best being a broodmare. We look forward to Shacklefords Lady listed as a sire in a few short years.

If you have a story of a unique race horse or one that you would want an article written about, reach out to me at [email protected] . We are always looking for more unique and positive articles to share.


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