04/15/2015 1:11PM

Charles Town Classic: Eight challenge Shared Belief

Shigeki Kikkawa
Shared Belief has been installed as the 2-5 favorite for the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

The field for the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic grew to nine when entries were taken Wednesday.

The Grade 2 Classic will be run Saturday at 1 1/8 miles. The race will start on the backstretch of the six-furlong Charles Town oval and include three turns. The stretch at Charles Town is just over an eighth of a mile.

Shared Belief, the top-rated older horse in North America, will be a heavy favorite in this seventh running of the Classic. He drew post 4 and has been made the 2-5 morning-line favorite.

Ten for 11 lifetime and a five-time Grade 1 winner, Shared Belief comes into the Classic off victories in the Santa Anita Handicap, San Antonio Invitational, and Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.

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Shared Belief is trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who will be on hand for the race. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the mount. Smith won the Charles Town Classic in 2013 and was second last year, both times aboard Game On Dude.

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Shared Belief will carry 123 pounds and concede three to five pounds to his rivals.

Under a three-tier participation incentive written into the conditions of the race, Shared Belief will earn $100,000 for completing the race. The bonus will be split 50-50 between Hollendorfer and Shared Belief’s owners, a syndicate in which sports talk-show host Jim Rome is the principal shareholder.

Moreno, owned by the Southern Equine Stable of Mike Moreno and trained by Eric Guillot, drew post 6 and is the second choice on the line at 7-2. As a Grade 1 winner, he will earn a $50,000 bonus.

Moreno was second, beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Shared Belief, in the Santa Anita Handicap while making his first start following a four-month layoff. He was third, beaten a half-length, last out in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

Cornelio Velasquez will ride at 118 pounds.

The field in post-position order: Looking Cool, a $62,000 claim last out at Gulfstream Park, 30-1; two-time Grade 2 winner Vyjack, 12-1; Street Babe, the winner of the Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds, 15-1; Shared Belief; Page McKenney, who has won Laurel Park stakes in his last two starts, 20-1; Moreno; General a Rod, who won a stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his debut for Todd Pletcher, 12-1; Warrioroftheroses, 50-1; last year’s Charles Town Classic winner, Imperative, 15-1.

With $150,000 of the purse being distributed in bonuses, the breakdown on the remaining $1.35 million will be: 1st, $783,000; 2nd, $261,000; 3rd, $130,500; 4th, $65,250; 5th, $39,150; 6th, $26,100; 7th through 9th, $15,000 each.

Charles Town Classic

Purse: $1.5 million; Grade 2; 1 1/8 miles

1) Looking Cool, Walter De La Cruz, 118, 30-1
2) Vyjack, Jose Montano, 118, 12-1
3) Street Babe, Joel Rosario, 120, 15-1
4) Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 123, 2-5
5) Page McKenney, Horacio Karamanos, 118, 20-1
6) Moreno, Cornelio Velasquez, 118, 7-2
7) General a Rod, John Velazquez, 118, 12-1
8) Warrioroftheroses, Travis Dunkelberger, 118, 50-1
9) Imperative, Alonso Quinonez, 118, 15-1