12/03/2015 4:45PM

Attack of colic claims Shared Belief

Barbara D. Livingston
Shared Belief won 10 of 12 starts and earned $2.9 million.

Shared Belief, the champion 2-year-old male of 2013, was euthanized Thursday after being stricken with an acute case of colic early that morning.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Friday that he saw Shared Belief prior to dawn Thursday morning at his stable at Golden Gate Fields before heading to a local airport for a flight to Southern California. Before Hollendorfer arrived at the airport, he was told Shared Belief was in distress.

“He started breaking out in a sweat,” Hollendorfer said. “The vet got there fast, and he didn’t like the way he looked.”

Shared Belief was transported to the veterinary clinic at the University of California-Davis about 60 miles from the Albany, Calif., racetrack for emergency treatment.

“We got him to Davis in an hour,” Hollendorfer said. “There was no traffic at that time.

“They decided they wanted to do exploratory surgery. They couldn’t save him.”

Read: For Shared Belief, a career short on races, long on highlights

Shared Belief was co-owned by sports commentator Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing, which issued a statement Thursday on its Facebook page announcing the loss of Shared Belief.

“We are absolutely devastated,” part of the message read. “Shared Belief was a once-in-a-lifetime horse.

"He absolutely loved his job and to compete and to run. As heartbreaking as this is, we all consider ourselves so fortunate to have been part of this amazing animal’s life. He was a super horse from day one.”

Hollendorfer said he had been overwhelmed with messages of condolences.

“It helps that people think about our horse and about us,” Hollendorfer said. “He did everything we asked him to do.”

Bred by Marty and Pam Wygod, Shared Belief won 10 of 12 starts and earned $2,932,200. A gelding, Shared Belief started once for the Wygods, winning a maiden race at Golden Gate Fields in October 2013 when trained by Jedd Josephson. Following that race, Shared Belief was purchased privately by a group led by Rome and transferred to Hollendorfer.

Shared Belief was unbeaten at 2, ending the season with a victory in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park, a win that clinched his championship. He missed the 2014 Triple Crown races because of persistent foot problems early in the year.

Shared Belief made his first start of 2014 in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields in May and followed with wins in three consecutive stakes – the Los Alamitos Derby in July, the Pacific Classic against older horses at Del Mar in August, and the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita in September.

Shared Belief was favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November 2014, but finished fourth after a troubled trip in which he was soundly bumped by eventual winner Bayern shortly after the start.

Seven weeks later, Shared Belief won his final start of 2014, the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Shared Belief won two of three starts this year. He won the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita in February, beating 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, and won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March. Shared Belief was a heavy favorite to extend his winning streak in the Charles Town Classic in April, but was pulled up midway through the race with a hip injury.

Shared Belief spent the summer recovering at the Pegasus Training Center in Washington, where he underwent preliminary training for his comeback. He was shipped to Hollendorfer’s stable at Golden Gate Fields in early November and had trained well enough that Hollendorfer mentioned in late November that a workout was days away. Hollendorfer had hoped to run Shared Belief at the upcoming Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Mike Smith rode Shared Belief in his final eight starts. Late Thursday afternoon, Smith spent time watching replays of some of Shared Belief’s races.

“Here’s a horse that only got beat twice, and probably shouldn’t have,” Smith said. “I don’t think we got a chance to see the best of him.

“This hits me so hard because it happened so fast. It was two days ago people were talking about how great he was doing and he was ahead of schedule.

“Everyone is so devastated.”