“Shackleford is hot and wound up. I don’t like anything I’m seeing.”

Before you got all, "but he spells it 'le,'" do keep in mind that my name has been spelled Shackleford more often than the correct way. It even appeared that way in a magazine I write for recently! That, along with a jockey named Jesus on Rapture day should have been your cue to bet on Shackleford to win the Preakness. I know it's my old betting adage!

Jay Privman reports. Or Joe Drape if you want the NY Times perspective and photo gallery.

Even the brilliant handicapper Andy Beyer confirms Shack's place by reluctantly praising his performance!

Conventional wisdom suggested that the ideal tactics for the speedy Shackleford might be to let Flashpoint go and settle into a stalking position behind him. But Shackleford himself had other ideas. In the paddock and in his prerace warmup, the colt was sweaty and manifestly unrelaxed. NBC’s knowledgeable commentator-on-horseback, Donna Barton Brothers, observed, “Shackleford is hot and wound up. I don’t like anything I’m seeing.” Analyst Gary Stevens predicted that jockey Jesus Castanon wasn’t going to be able to restrain his mount: “There’s going to be a hot pace.”

Jim Litke blames my man for screwing up everyone's Triple Crown hopes, the stock story for writers with little interest in the great stories behind the horses in the race. Like Jesus himself, who finally gets a Grade 1 win.

As for the name, Shack got his handle from an island, according to Bill Dwyre.

Shackleford was ridden by the namesake of a deity, and was named himself after an island along the North Carolina coast that is known for its wild horses. Visitors to Shackleford Banks are warned that the feral horses who live there, reportedly descendents of shipwreck survivors, might bite if you get too close.

A possible Belmont rematch with Animal Kingdom depends on how the two come out of the race, but afterwards he Shackleford sure looked good in that winners' blanket!

Here's the race with Larry Collumus' call: