Horse Racing: Shared Belief on the “Fast Track” to Superstardom

I was impressed when he won his debut, excited by his second start, and win, in the Hollywood Prevue, but after Saturday’s dazzling win in the 2013 CashCall Futurity, I believe two year old gelding Shared Belief is on the threshold of superstardom.

He’s now won all three of his career starts by a combined 20 ½ lengths with each one almost a carbon copy of  his last. He lays just off the early pace, put himself into contention on the turn for home (with no urging from his rider), then lowers his head, levels out and displays a devastating burst of speed down the stretch to leave his opponents in futile chase. It’s quite impressive to watch.

Just a little background first, Shared Belief is a dark bay born on February 11, 2011 and is the product of the mating, which was synchronized by Marty Wygod, between Candy Ride, who was Argentinean bred and 6 for 6 before his career was cut short by injury and the Storm Cat mare Common Hope, who won one of just five career races and a poultry $40,220.

He was handed over to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who in turn entered him in his first race at six furlongs at Golden Gates on Oct 19.

He broke well and was third in the early going. But on the turn for home, and while traveling three wide, he pulled then jockey Juan Hernandez to the lead without any urging whatsoever.

After hitting the five furlong marker in a sensational :57.2, he roared down the stretch, while being in a hand gallop, to win by seven and stopped the clock in race-horse time of 1:09.2.

After that race he was purchased privately by Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, Hollendorfer, Litt, Alex Solis II and Todaro from the Wygod’s.

In his second start, in the Grade: 3 Hollywood Prevue at Hollywood Park on Nov 10 and this time ridden by Corey Nakatani, he broke well and once again, was right off the early pace for the first five furlongs. When he reached the top of the stretch he had already opened up three lengths on the field and other than a few reign “crosses” thrown by Nakatani, Shared Belief absolutely ran his foes off their feet while displaying nothing short of brilliant acceleration. He won by 7 ¾ lengths under a hand ride and finished the seven furlong race in a fleet 1:22 flat.

“That was an impressive 2-year-old right there,” Nakatani said afterwards. “Being by Candy Ride, he’s got the breeding to be any kind. He was very focused. When I worked him, he did everything so easily, but I didn’t ride him the first time and I didn’t know he’d be so relaxed. When they do the things this horse did today, it’s pretty exciting.”

Here is a something I found on youtube, watch the stretch runs of his first two races carefully….watch how quickly he opens up on the fields without his jockey(s) even asking him…watch the all off a sudden …boom type acceleration…then how he has a 5 or 6 length lead in just a few strides. That, readers, is special.

 

 

He then records two back to back (Dec 1 and Dec 9) six furlong works in 1:12 and change (mind-boggling stuff for a two year old) before entering the starting gate this past Saturday afternoon.

The Cashcall was by far his most impressive race.

In the Cashcall, not only was his extraordinary talent on display again, but he also showed his calm, cool and collected side, a intricate part of being a successful racehorse, when going up the backside 26-1 shot Candy Boy went flying past him with a sudden and fast middle move. Nakatani and Shared Belief both resisted the temptation to run with him at that point. Shared Belief simply looked at Candy Boy and said “you go on…I’ll be along later” and boy, was he ever.

As they turned for home, Nakatani shook the reigns 2 or 3 times and Shared Belief responded with his patented explosive move and opened 5-6 lengths in a blink of an eye. He cruised under the wire almost 6 lengths in front and going easily.

“Wow! My horse has a pretty high cruising speed and when (Candy Boy) made that early move, I couldn’t go with him,” said Nakatani “I’m just very thankful to Jerry Hollendorfer and his team, (assistant) Dan Ward, and obviously (part-owner) Alex Solis II for finding the horse and buying him. He did all the work and I was just a quiet passenger on him. Wow!”

 

 

Ward said Shared Belief came out of the CashCall “perfect.’’

“He’ll ship to Santa Anita next week and then we’ll see how he trains on dirt,” Ward added. “The logical races to run in are the San Felipe Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and then if everything goes well, on to Kentucky.”

“I think he deserves the Eclipse (as champion 2-year-old male),” Ward continued. “He was never asked and I think this race was easier on him than the other two. His time was fast and he beat a really good field.”

I agree Mr. Ward, with the inconsistencies shown by the other two year old males this year, it s a fairly wide open division. Shared Belief is clearly the best two year old I’ve seen this year but unfortunately I do not believe he’s done enough to earn the award.

With all of this being said, let’s not forget Shared Belief still has a few things to prove.

Like say can he handle the traditional dirt surface? Can he handle an off track? Can he handle 10 furlongs (On the first Saturday in May)? Can he handle tracks outside of California? Is he just a fast developing horse who will flame out and regress (instead of progress) from his two year old year to his three year old year like say Favorite Trick or Arazi?

Those are all legitimate questions that he has yet to answer…but by what he has shown so far, with the exception of the off track (we won’t know until he runs over one) I would venture to guess “yes, yes, yes and no” to those questions….like always in the sport of Horse Racing, time will tell…but I do like his chances….a lot…and maybe that star marking on his forehead is indeed a sign of things to come.

Thanks for Reading