12/20/2013 3:36PM

John Sparkman: Enriching a Golden State legacy

Benoit & Associates
Shared Belief has strong ties to California racing as he is by Pacific Classic winner Candy Ride and is from the successful breeding program of Marty and Pam Wygod.

One of the first horses bred by Marty and Pam Wygod when they entered the Thoroughbred business in the 1970s was Pirate’s Bounty, a beautifully bred son of the great Hoist the Flag out of stakes winner Bad Seed, by Stevward. Though far from a top-class racehorse, Pirate’s Bounty did manage to win a minor stakes at the Meadowlands and placed in both the Aqueduct and Paumonok handicaps.

The Wygods purchased River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif., in 1975 and retired Pirate’s Bounty as their foundation sire in 1981. By the 1990s Pirate’s Bounty was one of the best sires in California, and his female family has continued to produce good horses for the Wygods, most recently CashCall Futurity winner Shared Belief.

Bad Seed was the best horse produced by Rich and Rare II, England’s champion 2-year-old filly of 1957, who was imported to the U.S. by Louis Wolfson’s Harbor View Farm, which also raced Bad Seed’s sire, Stevward. By the very good sire Rockefella, by Hyperion, Rich and Rare was a great-granddaughter of the great English foundation mare Trustful, by Bachelor’s Double, dam of 1938 St. Leger winner Scottish Union, by Cameronian, and brilliant sprinter Coroado, by Colorado. Trustful’s still-expanding family includes great German sire Surumu, leading Argentine sire The Yuvaraj, leading Japanese sire Tesco Boy, leading South African sire Roland Gardens, German Horse of the Year Marduk, English champion Kala Dancer, and German highweight Elle Danzig, among others.

A small, wiry filly, Rich and Rare won six of her seven starts at two in 1957, including the prestigious Cheveley Park Stakes, and capped off her championship season beating future champion Aggressor in the Houghton Stakes at a mile. Since she held no classic engagements in England (and supplementary entries were not allowed in that era), she was sold to race in America, but never ran again.

Her daughter Bad Seed won the Golden Poppy Handicap at Golden Gate for the Wygods and ran second in the Grade 3 Colonial Handicap. Pirate’s Bounty was Bad Seed’s only stakes winner, but her daughters Sown, by Grenfall, Seed Case, by Never Tabled, and Deciduous, by Never Tabled, all produced stakes winners for the Wygods. Seed Case is dam of three stakes winners, best of whom was Manhattan Beach Stakes winner Kresgeville, by Bertrando, and is grandam of stakes winner Smithtown Bay, by Grindstone.

Bad Seed’s best daughter, though, was Sown, who was the dam of the best horse produced by Rich and Rare’s family, at least until Shared Belief came along. Sown’s daughter Key Phrase, by leading California sire Flying Paster, won the first five of her six starts, culminating in a brilliant six-length victory in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap in 1995, and broke down when finishing third in the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap.

That Grade 1 victory earned Key Phrase a date with leading sire Storm Cat, and the resulting foal, Yankee Gentleman, was talented enough to win four of 10 starts, including the 2003 Pirate’s Bounty Handicap at Del Mar. Retired to Airdrie Stud in Kentucky in 2004, Yankee Gentleman has through Dec. 17 sired 18 stakes winners from 390 foals of racing age (5 percent), led by Grade 1 winner E Z’s Gentleman and Grade 2 winners Ive Struck a Nerve and Washington Bridge.

Shared Belief’s dam, maiden winner Common Hope, is closely related to Yankee Gentleman, since she is by Storm Cat out of Key Phrase’s dam, Sown. Shared Belief is Common Hope’s eighth foal and second graded stakes winner. Her third foal, Double Major, by Bertrando, placed third in the 2007 Sunshine Millions Oaks, and her sixth, Little Miss Holly, by Maria’s Mon, won the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks in 2011.

Shared Belief is one of 37 stakes winners and eight Grade 1 winners sired by Candy Ride, who ranks as one of the most successful sires ever imported to the U.S. from Argentina. Bred by one of Argentina’s great stud farms, Haras Abolengo, Candy Ride is the best son of American stakes winner Ride the Rails, by Cryptoclearance, and is a half-brother to two group winners. His dam, Candy Girl, is a full sister to dual Argentine classic winner City West, by Candy Stripes, and from the same family as great sires Le Fabuleux and Worden.

Candy Ride was imported to the U.S. by Sidney and Jenny Craig after winning his first three starts in Argentina, including the Group 1 Premio Joaquin S. de Anchorena and Premio San Isidro by ridiculously wide margins. He proved those margins were no fluke in his three starts in the U.S., starting off by easily capturing a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming race at Hollywood Park by three lengths on dirt.

Switched to turf for the Grade 2 American Handicap, he was not quite so impressive on the unfamiliar surface, but prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Special Ring. Candy Ride proved he belonged with America’s best in the 2003 Pacific Classic, stalking the top-class Medaglia d’Oro through the first mile and then sprinting away in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:59.11.

Candy Ride came out of that race with an ankle problem, but was kept in training for much of the next year. He never made it back to the starting gate, and when it came time to retire Candy Ride to stud at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in 2005, his brilliant win in the Pacific Classic was past history to Kentucky breeders.

It did not matter. His first crop of 124 foals included 11 stakes winners, headed by 2010 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Misremembered (Beyond Perfection, by Quack), 2009 Grade 1 King’s Bishop Stakes winner Capt. Candyman Can (Stormy Way, by Storm Creek), 2010 Grade 1 Pat O’Brien Stakes winner El Brujo (Enchanted Spell, by Devil’s Bag), and 2009 Grade 1 La Brea Stakes winner Evita Argentina (Jealous Wildcat, by Forest Wildcat). That immediate first-crop success led to Candy Ride’s transfer from Hill ‘n’ Dale to Lane’s End for the 2010 breeding season.

His second crop was almost as impressive. Sidney’s Candy (Fair Exchange, by Storm Cat) swept the Grade 2 San Vicente, Grade 2 San Felipe, and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on the road to the 2010 Kentucky Derby, but could not handle the sloppy track at Churchill Downs and finished 17th. Twirling Candy (House of Danzing, by Chester House) won six of his first seven starts, including the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, and came within a head of duplicating his sire’s victory in the Pacific Classic.

Since that second crop, Candy Ride’s record has suffered from the third-, fourth-, and fifth-crop slump that has become endemic in the big-book era, with only one additional Grade 1 winner, Home Sweet Aspen (My Gal Groovy, by Groovy), appearing in his next three crops. Shared Belief is the best horse so far from his first crop conceived after his transfer to Lane’s End.

Bred by the Wygods, the gelded Shared Belief was sold privately to a partnership including Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after he defeated a Hollendorfer-trained 7-5 favorite by seven lengths in a maiden race at Golden Gate. Shared Belief then won the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue by a similar margin before his easy 5 3/4-length win in the CashCall Futurity.

Since he is out of a Storm Cat mare, Shared Belief is bred on the same pattern as Grade 1 winners Sidney’s Candy, Capt. Candyman Can, and Evita Argentina, all of whom are out of mares by Storm Cat or one of his sons. Shared Belief is an outcross, with an inbreeding coefficient of only 0.49% and a 6x4 cross of Northern Dancer as his closest duplication.

Pam and Marty Wygod closed River Edge in 2010 to concentrate their breeding operation in Kentucky. Pirate’s Bounty stood his entire career at River Edge and led the California sire list three times.

With Shared Belief, the Wygods's breeding operation has come full circle.