SHARED BELIEF LOOKS FOR A CLASSIC WIN
Way back in February, if you said two-year old champion Thoroughbred Shared Belief had a real chance at a Classic win in his three-year old season the response would have likely been…Doy! Unfortunately the injury bug took a bite out of this astronomical athlete and he missed the 2014 Triple Crown races. After a little soul-searching and some serious rehab, Shared Belief is now ready to make a run at a Classic win, it just won’t be the one most were thinking of.
An impressive two-year old campaign for Shard Belief culminated with a jaw-dropping performance in the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park and the top Juvenile selection. As the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby, this unbeaten son of Candy Ride was already being measured for his blanket of roses. The Triple Crown Classic races were going to see his remarkable turn of foot and dare we think he would end the long-standing drought and sweep them all?
Then an abscess on his right front foot in February of 2014 changed all of that. Taken out of training to let it heal properly, the speedy gelding and his lofty goals were sidelined until May. Wins in a six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on May 26 and another rambunctious run in the Los Alamitos Derby on July 5 kept his unbeaten record (5 wins in 5 starts) intact and renewed those thoughts of greatness. The victory in the mile and an eighth Los Al Derby over a quality field was especially impressive and may have opened a few more eyes.
“That run was almost scary good,” says hall of fame jockey Mike Smith who was aboard Shared Belief for the first time in the Los Alamitos Derby. “He is one of the most talented horse I have been on and certainly the best three-year old I have ridden this year.”
The Triple Crown races may be a distant memory now, but Shared Belief has his sights now set on another Classic. The mile and a quarter Pacific Classic is in his crosshairs and provides a chance for him to step way up and win the richest annual race in California.
“This doesn’t really compare to the Kentucky Derby because that is the toughest race in the world to win,” says trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer. “But the Pacific Classic is our big summer race here in California and one that every trainer wants to win. Shared Belief is doing real good right now and if everything works out we are going to run in the Pacific Classic.”
A twenty horse field and the challenges of the mile and a quarter on the first Saturday in May will not be there, but Del Mar’s biggest race does present other obstacles. First there is the distance. Having never run that far in a race, that is always a question. Also, the field will not be as large, but it will feature older horses which will likely include salty veterans like Game On Dude. Experience and maturity can be a factor in such a big event like the million-dollar Pacific Classic, but three other three-year olds (Dullahan 2012, Came Home 2002, Best Pal 1991) have made their way to the winner’s circle at the seaside oval in the previous 23 runnings.
“Taking on older horses is always a challenge,” says Hollendorfer. “In this race I don’t think it is a requirement that you be older to win. Of course they have a bit of an advantage because they have covered the distance before and distance is always a question for a horse that hasn’t been that far before, but I think he can cover it.”
The ease with which Shared Belief has won his races certainly suggests he has plenty in the tank to go a mile and a quarter. Also his bloodlines suggest stamina as his pappy, Candy Ride, ran to glory at Del Mar in winning the 2003 Classic. With a big stretch move seemingly always ready, things might just be setting up for Shared Belief to get that classic win.
“He always consistently runs and has good balance,” says Hollendorfer. “We think he is ready to run big.”
The Pacific Classic will be run at Del Mar on August 24.
SHARED BELIEF LOOKS FOR A CLASSIC WIN