Shared Belief stepped into the Triple Crown trail spotlight when he scored a 7 3/4 length victory in the Hollywood Prevue Stakes (Photos courtesy of Benoit & Associates).
Making the Grade, which will run through the 2014 Belmont Stakes, focuses on the winners of the big races, usually from the previous weekend, who could impact the next Triple Crown. We’ll be taking a close look at impressive winners and evaluating their chances to win classic races based upon ability, running style, connections (owner, trainer, jockey) and pedigree.
This week we take a closer look at Shared Belief, winner of the Hollywood Prevue Stakes on Nov. 10 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Shared Belief made his stakes debut a memorable one as he rolled to a 7 ¾-length runaway victory in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue Stakes in his first start for a new ownership group that includes sports personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
“That was an impressive 2-year-old right there,” winning jockey Corey Nakatani said. “Being by Candy Ride he has the breeding to be any kind.”
Dark Bay or Brown Gelding
Sire (Father): Candy Ride
Dam (Mother): Common Hope, by Storm Cat
Owners: Jungle Racing, Jerry Hollendorfer,
Breeder: Pam and Marty Wygod (Ky.)
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
Ability: Shared Belief won his career debut by seven lengths on Oct. 19 as the 2.80-to-1 second betting choice. The runner-up that day was Time Jumper, a gelding co-owned and trained by Hollendorfer who went off as the 7-to-5 favorite.
Well, if you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. Shortly after that race, an ownership group that includes Hollendorfer as well as Jim Rome, Jason Litt, George Todaro and Alex Solis II privately purchased Shared Belief from his breeders, Marty and Pam Wygod. Hollendorfer took over his training and he paid immediate dividends with a visually impressive win in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue.
With two wins by a combined margin of 14 ¾ lengths and a rival trainer impressed enough to initiate a private purchase, it’s a fairly safe bet that this is a pretty talented gelding. What remains to be seen is if Shared Belief can transfer his form from his first two starts on synthetic surfaces (Tapeta Footing at Golden Gate Fields and Cushion Track at Hollywood) to a dirt main track like the ones he will need to excel on during the Triple Crown races.
Running style: Shared Belief raced close to the pace in the Hollywood Prevue, although Hollendorfer said that was not by design. When Papa Turf set a moderate pace through a half-mile in :46.06, Shared Belief was right on his outside flank waiting for his cue from Nakatani to accelerate. He took the lead approaching the stretch and when Kobe’s Back moved up to challenge, Shared Belief put him away with an effortless burst of speed.
In his career debut, Shared Belief was 5 ½ length behind the leader in third after the first quarter-mile of the six-furlong (three-quarters of a mile) race and four lengths back after a half-mile in a swift :45.12. He took charge in the stretch and powered away to a dominant win, despite racing a bit greenly in the stretch.
It looks like Shared Belief has a nice, high cruising speed that he can use to position himself in races and also is willing to listen to his rider’s instructions despite only two career races. It’s also nice to see that he does not idle when he hits the front and professionally puts his opponents in the rearview mirror.
SHARED BELIEF AND COREY NAKATANI HEAD BACK TO THE WINNER'S CIRCLE
Connections: A 2011 inductee into the Racing Hall of Fame, Jerry Hollendorfer won every major training title at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows Race Course from 1986 to 2008 as the dominant trainer in Northern California. Hollendorfer won the Kentucky Oaks in 1991 with Lite Light, in 1996 with Pike Place Dancer and in 2011 with eventual champion 3-year-old filly Blind Luck. From five Kentucky Derby starters, Hollendorfer’s best results were fifth-place finishes from Eye of the Tiger (2003) and Chocolate Candy (2009). Three of his top Derby candidates – Event of the Year in 1998, Globalize in 2000 and Hear the Ghost in 2013 – did not make the race because of injuries sustained leading up to the big race.
Hollendorfer owns Shared Belief in partnership with longtime partner George Todaro, Alex Solis II, Jason Litt and Jungle Racing, the racing operation of sports personality Jim Rome that raced two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection. Todaro raced 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Dakota Phone in partnership with Hollendorfer and two other owners.
Nakatani has yet to win the Kentucky Derby but he won the Oaks on Lite Light and Pike Place Dancer and has amassed 10 Breeders’ Cup victories.
Previous Making the Grades
Pedigree: Shared Belief is from the sixth crop of 2003 Pacific Classic Stakes winner Candy Ride, the horse Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone referred to as a “rocket ship.” Candy Ride’s top runners to date are 2010 Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered, 2010 Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy and Grade 1 winner Twirling Candy, all best in two-turn races.
Shared Belief is a half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to graded stakes winner Little Miss Holly and stakes-placed winner Double Major. His dam, Common Hope, by Storm Cat, was a winner at 6 ½ furlongs. Common Hope is a half-sister to Key Phrase, a Grade 1 winner at seven furlongs and the dam of stakes winner and sire Yankee Gentleman. Grade 2-winning sprinter and sire Half Ours also is a member of this family.
Both wins by Shared Belief’s second dam (maternal grandmother), Sown, came at six furlongs but his third dam (maternal great-grandmother), Bad Seed, was a stakes winner at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. It also should be noted that Little Miss Holly’s graded stakes win came at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt in the Iowa Oaks.
Candy Ride is a stallion very capable of siring a classic-distance horse and his best runners have also frequently shown tremendous acceleration, something Shared Belief demonstrated in his two starts. The maternal side of this pedigree slants more toward speed than stamina, so it will be very interesting to see how Shared Belief performs in his first race around two turns.
There are pedigrees that jump out at you as classic-type pedigrees. This is not one of those, but it’s also not a pedigree that looks like it would prevent Shared Belief from succeeding when stretching out in distance. Based upon what appears to be elite talent level, the professionalism he showed in his second start and a quality sire, Shared Belief looks like a potentially serious player on the Triple Crown trail in 2014. But as with most of his peers, whether or not he will be able to carry his speed 1 ¼ miles on the first Saturday in May is another question entirely.