Shackleford upset in Indiana Derby
Wilburn found the perfect spot at the ideal time to spoil Shackleford's Breeders' Cup preparations Saturday, beating the Preakness winner by 4-3/4 lengths in the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park.
Shackleford was trying to bounce back from a poor showing a little over a month ago at the Grade 1 Travers Stakes and gain some momentum going into the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs next month.
Ridden by Jesus Lopez Castanon, Shackleford was pushed early by Decisive Moment and Little Drama and had to settle for a three-wide berth going around the first turn. He settled into the second around the final turn just off the pace set by Decisive Moment.
Shackleford moved to the front coming out of the turn, but Wilburn, with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard, found an opening along the rail. By the time Wilburn reached the top of the stretch he had a two-length lead.
''I saw the opening, but I didn't want to move too early,'' Leparoux said of his move on the far turn. ''I saw Robby (Albarado riding Caleb's Posse) coming. so I knew I've got to make the decision to go now or never.''
Wilburn pulled away steadily and wasn't threatened in breaking the record of 3-1/2 lengths that Zanjero set in winning in 2007.
The winning time for 1-1/16 miles was 1 minute, 43.3 seconds, far off the record of 1:40.4, set two years ago by Misremembered. The track was rated as muddy for much of the 12-race card Saturday but was upgraded to fast by the time the Derby post time arrived.
''We would have liked to have won,'' said Shackleford trainer Dale Romans. ''But the other horse ran a big race. He cut the corner and got by us and after that it was difficult to catch him.''
Wilburn returned $7.20 for a win bet.
Caleb's Posse took third in the seven-horse field with a late drive.
Wilburn's trainer, Steven Asmussen, and the owners hadn't made a decision on the horse's next step.
Shackleford's future also is unclear.
''I thought he came back well from the Travers and ran a good race,'' Romans said. ''Right now I would say we are moving on (to the Breeders' Cup), but we'll see how he comes out of this one.''
Caleb's Posse, the second betting choice, tried to come from too far back to catch either of the top two and finished 6-1/2 lengths behind the winner.
Leparoux also rode Juanita to victory in the $200,000 Grade II Indiana Oaks, finishing in 1:45.2 to win by 4-3/4 lengths for a gate-to-wire victory that paid $12.60 on a win bet.