Incredible Dragon, a black four-year-old Standardbred horse with big eyes, rounded the final turn in a harness race at the Meadows Racetrack and paced hard among the leaders toward the finish post.

Dragon, as trainer Paul Corey calls him, had been on a winning streak, and Mr. Corey has an explanation: two aluminum shoes on his front hoofs, and two steel shoes in back. "It took months to figure that out," Mr. Corey says.

Crediting success to shoes raises eyebrows in some parts of the horse world. "Everybody comes in here looking for the magic shoe," said Chris Schoeffel, a farrier at the Meadows, a racetrack and casino complex about half an hour southwest of Pittsburgh, who shoes some of Dragon's rivals. He shook his head, and said: "I tell 'em I could put the fastest shoe on the slowest horse, and it still ain't gonna win a race."

There are two places left where the steel and aluminum industries still run neck and neck: automotive…and horseshoes.

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