When Shared Belief conquered California Chrome in mid-stretch at the San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita on February 7, what was going through your mind?
Seeing the smoothness that is Shared Belief glide past the brilliantly beautiful Chrome made this gray matter work like a moonshiner on New Year’s Eve. Surprised?…no, not really. Having seen Belief up close and personal at the 2014 Pacific Classic, I knew he was for real. And with a man like Mike Smith in the irons you had to know if opportunity arose, Belief would be there. The Malibu win in his last start on December 26 was a solid stepping stone to the San Antonio and proved he had a little fight in his demeanor. He came in ready and strutted his stuff for sure. Shared Belief is the man right now in the older horse division and this son of Candy Ride has given everyone else something to shoot for.
Now, with the lone blemish on his career record being the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic, does this mean Shared Belief is invincible?Remember, this is a sport and the only certainty is uncertainty. Belief is looking pretty dog gone good right now, but so did Joe Frazier after he broke Muhammed Ali’s jaw at Madison Square Garden. Remember the raw power and turn of foot California Chrome has displayed in the past? His ego may be a bit bruised as he was passed for the first time in his career when leading in the stretch, but this may help Chrome out in the end.
As rivalries go, feeding off one another can be a great thing, especially for the fans. As each raises his level in the spirit of competition, the on-lookers get the real treat. We can only hope these powerful yet fragile phenoms continue their career paths and meet down the road.
Shared Belief is at the top and deserves to be after an impressive performance. The bar has been raised, now it is time to see who steps up to the challenge. It is only February, so let the fun begin!