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Shackleford makes final start in Clark Handicap

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Louisville, KY (Sportsbooks) - Former Preakness Stakes champ Shackleford will break from the starting gate for the last time Friday in the $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old colt will face nine in the 1 1/8-mile stakes.

Trained by Dale Romans, Shackleford will be ridden one last time by Jesus Castanon who guided the colt to victory in the middle jewel of last year's Triple Crown. The pair will break from post three for owners Michael Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge and Phillips Racing Partnership.

"We want to run on a nice, fast racetrack. He loves it here (Churchill Downs) and always runs well here," noted Lauffer.

Shackleford is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile as the 5-2 co-favorite. Last year he was second in the race behind Caleb's Posse. This year, Shackleford has wins in the Churchill Downs Stakes and Met Mile.

Shackleford has posted five wins in 19 career starts for $2,824,047 with five seconds and a third.

The 4-year-old will be retired to stud at Darby Dan Farm where he recently was on display for potential breeders.

Starting from post six will be this year's Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy. The 3-year-old colt, trained by Patrick Byrne, will be ridden by Calvin Borel.

"He got so much out of (the Fayette)," Byrne said. "I bet he's five or six lengths better (now). I was so apprehensive going into the Fayette off a six- month layoff, but I could only train him so much. He nearly pulled it off."

Owned by Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, Take Charge Indy was third in the Fayette Stakes at Keeneland last month behind Newsdad. It was his first start since finishing 19th in the Kentucky Derby.

The colt has banked $736,000 off two wins in eight career starts.

Joining Shackleford in making a final career start is Mission Impazible. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old will start from post nine with Javier Castellano in the saddle.

Mission Impazible, owned by Twin Creeks Racing, was second to Wise Dan in last year's Clark. He began 2012 as the runner-up to Hymn Book in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, but has not won in five starts this year.

A veteran of 20 starts, Mission Impazible has three wins and eight seconds for $1,272,075.

In post position order here is the field for the Clark: Pool Play, Corey Lanerie; Eye of the Leopard, Jon Court; Shackleford, Jesus Castanon; Bourbon Courage, Leandro Goncalves; Cease, Miguel Mena; Take Charge Indy, Calvin Borel; Fast Falcon, Shaun Bridgmohan; Stealcase, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Mission Impazible, Javier Castellano and Lunar Victory, Junior Alvarado.

Approximate post-time for the Clark is 5:35 p.m. (ET).

November 20, 2012, at 02:40 PM ET
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