12/18/2013 1:23PM

Dick Jerardi: Shared Belief stands out in several ways

Shigeki Kikkawa
Shared Belief could provide trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with his best shot to win a Triple Crown race for the first time in 2014.

We attend sporting events because we never know for sure what we might be about to witness. We watch stakes races for 2-year-olds because we never know when we might be about to see something very special. In the space of three hours last Saturday afternoon and evening, I saw a hoops/horses exacta that I won’t soon forget.

It was 90 minutes or so after I watched Princeton make up an 18-point deficit in the last 6 1/2 minutes to catch and then beat Penn State in a wild overtime basketball game played in snowy State College, Pa., at old Rec Hall that I was stopped by a man as I was leaving the bar/restaurant at the nearby Nittany Lion Inn.

He did not want to know about the basketball game. He wanted to know the identity of my 2014 Kentucky Derby horse.

I was just about to say I was undecided before I double-checked the name of an unbeaten horse who was going to run at Betfair Hollywood Park within the next 90 minutes. Shared Belief, I told him, had been very impressive in each of his two starts and had a big Beyer Speed Figure edge going into the CashCall Futurity. If Shared Belief wins big again, I told the man, he could be my horse.

The road out of town was impassible, so I settled in to watch some more hoops on television and one horse race on my laptop.

Shared Belief showed excellent early speed in his races, both sprints, so he certainly figured to be close in his first start around two turns. He broke perfectly and quickly established excellent early position just off an early speed horse who had no chance to last. When Candy Boy made a giant middle move on the backstretch, I wasn’t really paying attention to him. I was watching Shared Belief and Corey Nakatani. The horse was as relaxed as the jockey when Candy Boy went by.

Nakatani did not seem at all concerned with the movement outside him. He apparently knew what he had and was waiting until later to show it.

Candy Boy had the lead on the far turn, but I was still watching Shared Belief. It was obvious Shared Belief was going to win and probably by a lot. The horse was getting closer without being asked. When Nakatani gave the signal at the head of the stretch, Shared Belief accelerated like the race had just started.

My old friend Vic Stauffer called the horse a “superstar.” I am not going there, but the Hollywood Park announcer might be right. This was really impressive.

Shared Belief won by 5 3/4 lengths and got a 106 Beyer. He also got my vote for 2-year-old champion after winning all three of his stars by a combined 20 1/2 lengths and getting Beyers of 84, 92, and 106.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has won 6,544 races, third all time. He has not won a Triple Crown race, mostly because he has had very few good chances. Shared Belief gives him a very good chance.

I like everything about this horse. He has positional speed. He rates like a smart horse. He runs fast.

I watched Shared Belief’s first race at Golden Gate Fields to see what Hollendorfer might have seen when he put together the deal to buy the horse after that Oct. 19 debut. Shared Belief was very good that day, too, and every bit as good in the Hollywood Prevue.

I checked the horse’s pedigree to see if there are any clues for later. Being by Candy Ride certainly can’t hurt. The dam, Common Hope, a daughter of legendary sire Storm Cat, does not have much of a race record, but clearly is from a strong family.

Common Hope raced five times in the early 2000s for trainer Julio Canani with one win, a maiden race at Del Mar. She has seven other foals, the first five by Bertrando, one by Maria’s Mon, and one by Unbridled’s Song. The two best are Little Miss Holly and Common Trust. Little Miss Holly, by Maria’s Mon, started 12 times with 3 wins, 2 seconds, 3 thirds, and earnings of $217,430. Common Trust, by Bertrando, started 42 times with 7 wins, 12 seconds, 6 thirds, and earnings of $195,622. All told, Common Hope’s first seven foals started 114 times, with 21 wins and $746,912.

Shared Belief has earned $451,200 in his three starts. Apparently, Candy Ride and Hollendorfer have made the difference. Candy Ride never lost in six starts and has become a solid sire. Hollendorfer is simply one of the best trainers that ever lived. Nakatani is certainly a big-race rider.

I am making no pronouncements other than I like everything about Shared Belief so far. I can’t wait for 2014 to see if the horse can keep that form and perhaps even improve on it.

Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
I was impressed. Shared Belief's victory in the Cash Call was very professional. He was relaxed and steadily gained ground until coming out of the turn when he turned on the afterburners. So far, the best performance I have seen out of this crop of 2yos...synthetic, dirt, or turf...
not impressed More than 1 year ago
He's only raced on synthetics thus far and therefore I'll reserve judgement until he runs and wins on dirt and does something outside of California. He hasn't beaten that much either yet, so he should win as impressively as he is. I'm not convinced he's a Derby horse. He runs more like an 8f to 9f synthetic/turf horse. People give accolades too early to horses these days and they always disappoint in the end. The Derby winner has yet to be heard of I say.
Walter More than 1 year ago
It makes no sense to say he has not beaten much. Who has? They are 2yos, no horse has yet to achieve a big record yet. He has done everything asked of him so far. We will see what develops when he gets to run at SA.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I get it you are not impressed
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
It's early, but it's so hard not to be impressed with this horse.
John More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief was amazing ! The way toi make a little $$ is go back and watch the race behind him. Candy Boy is improving for Sadler, plus Kobe's Back had a terrible trip, he can also rebound, of the others, the win on Friday of Bafferts Midnight Hawk was AWESOME ! Broke dead last, rushed up, settled back, made a wide run and drew off in hand, and at 7 1/2 furlongs.....................!
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Midnight Hawks race was very impressive, but he didn't draw off in hand. He was hit at least half a dozen times left handed. However it didn't appear he was giving his all and looked a little green in doing it. Lot's of upside as you say.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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John More than 1 year ago
Please keep this crap off the DRF site, its a FRAUD ! They put a VIRUS into your computer, BAD BAD NEWS
Ron Solberg More than 1 year ago
like always i never select a derby horse until 2 hours prior to the race itself.just to many changes.
Lefty More than 1 year ago
And to think it was Honor Code that was going to be your horse. Anyway, competition is good and may the best horse win. Besides, we have a few months to figure it out.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief has shown a running style that will definitely work on the SA dirt. And, when CD is a fast track, it can be just as speed favoring as SA. I'm betting he will do just fine this spring. Best of luck.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
I believe, like a lot of you, that Shared Belief is more than anything a synthetic freak alla Dullahan (God rest his soul). If he proves me wrong, so be it...and I've said this before but as far as the Derby is concerned, I just don't trust horses that are this fast, this mature this early.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He reminds me more of Sidney's Candy.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Yeah I can see that...almost identical pedigree too. Both by Candy Ride and out of a Storm Cat mare.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Very good horseman for a trainer. Bottom of pedigree has the breeding for classics. Just not sold on him as a dirt horse. We will probably see him run in Bob Lewis then Santa Anita Derby as preps. Then we shall see. Tremendous potential but can he get 1 1/4 on dirt. I still say Honor Code has it all. And being out of AP Indy last crop in Shug's hg ands...we may see the best horseman from borh coasts neck n neck in May.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I just cant be sold on a horse with those slow fractions early in th Remsen. Maybe he will be better then Shared belief come first Saturday in May, but not now. The Remsen was a throw out race for me 25/52 will not be the pace in the derby. If that is what Honor code needs to be close to the pace early, he is a stone cold closer. I love his pedigree and trainer, so he will probably improve. Shared Belief is farther along then he is right now