Shared Belief Makes Eclipse Push in Malibu Win
Shared Belief Makes Eclipse Push in Malibu Win: Fans and bettors cried foul after the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita last month, when the Bob Baffert trained Bayern crossed over from the gate and impeded Shared Belief. Bayern won the race, dual crown winner California Chrome finished a close third and Shared Belief made a belated rally for fourth.
The three-year-old horses dominated the Classic finish. But, since their resumes closely matched each other going into the race, many believed Shared Belief’s Eclipse hopes for both three-year-old champion and Horse of the Year ended.
To make matters worse, California Chrome won the G1 Del Mar Derby on turf a few weeks later to add to his three other grade I victories.
With nothing to lose, the connections of Shared Belief entered their gelding in the G1 Malibu S., also at Santa Anita, and came away with a clean start and victory this time. The Candy Ride gelding defeated a notable field consisting of three other Baffert horses: Chitu, Indianapolis and Midnight Hawk. In doing so, Shared Belief’s overall record improved to 9-8-0-0.
Trevor Denman comments on the clean getaway in his call by saying “Shared Belief got a great beginning.”
Jockey Mike Smith let Chitu go to the lead though, and Chitu set the pace with stablemate Indianapolis tracking closely in second. Conquest Two Step ran along the rail just behind, while longshot Frensham ran wide and Shared Belief settled in between.
Turning for home, Chitu and Indianapolis went on battling for the lead. Conquest Two Step pushed outside the top two for running room and Shared Belief rallied outside of those three. Under mild urging, Shared Belief wore down Chitu and held off Conquest Two Step, securing the victory.
According to the press release, Shared Belief left a good impression on Conquest Two Step’s rider Joe Talamo.
“That Shared Belief was pretty nice,” Talamo said. “When I got to him, he was fighting me off pretty good. He ran his best and tried hard.”
As reported on the Equibase chart, the fractions went in 23.13, 45.24, 1:08.59 and the final time ended in a swift 1:20.69.
Smith says he hopes “This race proved what a great horse he is, just by doing what he did. To run route races, then to come back to seven eighths against top sprinters … To me, that puts a big feather in his cap and puts him in front for Horse of the Year. I think this put him ahead of the rest.”
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer tampered down his expectations for the Eclipse Awards.
“I don’t vote on Horse of the Year but all the other folks can take a look and see what they think,” Hollendorfer said.
Shared Belief and his connections will find out soon.
The Eclipse Awards ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2014 at Gulfstream Park.