12/12/2013 3:07PM

CashCall Futurity: Shared Belief heads strong Hollendorfer pair

Benoit & Associates
Shared Belief has won both of his starts, including a 7 3/4-length score in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The stall that Shared Belief occupies in trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn here at Betfair Hollywood Park is strategically placed so he can see out a large opening toward the racetrack, perhaps a metaphor for a 2-year-old who could have an ambitious schedule on his horizon.

Shared Belief has raced just twice but was so impressive in both races that he is the acknowledged favorite for the Grade 1, $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile race will be his first start around two turns, but if he handles that like he handled his rivals in the Hollywood Prevue on Nov. 10, he could head into the winter as one of the leading prospects for next year’s major 3-year-old races.

The CashCall Futurity will be the final Grade 1 race run at Hollywood Park, which will have its final card Dec. 22. Although the CashCall Futurity was worth 10 points to the winner a year ago under the new system instituted by Churchill Downs to determine eligibility to the Kentucky Derby, it was removed from the points list for the 2014 Derby.

The race does have immediate importance, though. No 2-year-old has stood out this year, and with Eclipse Award ballots about to go out to voters, the CashCall Futurity offers a late-season chance to make a major impression. There are 13 in the race, including Bond Holder and Tamarando, both looking to become the only 2-year-old males to record a pair of Grade 1 wins this year.

[CashCall Futurity: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Shared Belief is seeking to complete a meteoric rise to the upper echelon of the West Coast’s 2-year-old male division. He beat maidens by seven lengths in his debut Oct. 19 at Golden Gate, after which Hollendorfer purchased the gelding privately from owner Marty Wygod for a partnership. Shared Belief then romped in the seven-furlong Prevue by 7 3/4 lengths while recording a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

“He’s training well, and we expect a good effort,” Hollendorfer said Thursday. “At the very least, he deserves a chance to run in a race like this. It’s a much tougher race. It’s his biggest test.”

Shared Belief is a dark bay gelding with a star on his forehead. He trained early Thursday, then spent the rest of the morning looking curiously each way down the shed row and out toward the track.

“He likes to watch everything,” said Dan Ward, Hollendorfer’s assistant.

Hollendorfer also sends out Tamarando, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in September and comes off a victory here in the Real Quiet Stakes on Nov. 23. With Shared Belief possessing early speed and Tamarando a solid late kick, Hollendorfer has a nice one-two punch.

“We’re very pleased with the away he ran last time,” Hollendorfer said of Tamarando. “He shows up every time.”

Bond Holder beat Tamarando in the Grade 1 FrontRunner at Santa Anita on Sept. 28, then was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, his most recent start.

“Man, he’s doing really good,” trainer Doug O’Neill said at his barn Thursday. “I thought he ran huge in the Breeders’ Cup. He made up a lot of ground. Three quality horses beat him, and none of them are in this race.”

Like all Breeders’ Cup 2-year-olds, Bond Holder did not race on Lasix that day, but he’s back on it Saturday.

Also going back on Lasix is Tap It Rich, who was fifth in the BC Juvenile in only his second start. With a large field, “the break’s going to be so important,” said his trainer, Bob Baffert.

The break will be vitally important for Kobe’s Back, who landed the outside post.

“I wanted to throw up when he drew 13. That ruined my day yesterday,” his trainer, John Sadler, said Thursday. “But he’ll run.”

Kobe’s Back won his debut here in the Willard Proctor Memorial in June, then was sidelined until the Grade 3 Prevue, in which he finished second to Shared Belief.

“I thought he ran well,” Sadler said. “Nobody in the country was going to beat the winner that day. That horse is a formidable favorite.”

Sadler also sends out Candy Boy, who comes off an easy win against a soft group of maidens in his fourth start Nov. 22.

“He’s made steady improvement,” Sadler said. “He’s a big horse. The farther, the better for him.”

Also sending out two runners are trainers Ken McPeek and Craig Dollase.

McPeek has Sheikinator, who beat maidens going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs in his second start Nov. 16, as well as Rankhasprivileges, third in the Delta Downs Jackpot after beating maidens at Keeneland.

Dollase has Brother Soldier, third in the Prevue, and Karma King, third in the Real Quiet.

Poker Player is making a return visit to Southern California. He was eighth in the BC Juvenile Turf after winning the off-the-turf Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. He also goes back on Lasix.

Electric Eddie is a maiden who was second in the Real Quiet. Even Echo is a maiden who has yet to finish in the money in six starts.