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Shared Belief defeats California Chrome in San Antonio
ARCADIA, Calif. – There was no time for panic.
When California Chrome took a clear lead early in early stretch of Saturday’s $590,000 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita, jockey Mike Smith was aboard Shared Belief in second and hoping his mount would have his customary rally through the stretch.
“He’s always had that gear, and I wondered if that gear would be good enough,” Smith said.
Shared Belief was more than good enough. The champion 2-year-old male of 2013, Shared Belief rallied in the final furlong to win the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over California Chrome, the 2014 Horse of the Year.
Shared Belief ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.45.
The winning strategy was ideal to winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who said he had brief concern about California Chrome’s lead in early stretch.
“I thought it was time to go get him,” Hollendorfer said. “It came up as we thought it would.”
Round 1 of a hoped-for series of big-race encounters this year went to Shared Belief, but there was belief in California Chrome’s camp that the popular colt will benefit greatly from the race.
“I saw that other horse on his hip, and he was chasing us the whole way,” said Alan Sherman, assistant trainer to his father, Art. “Maybe the other horse was fitter than we were.”
The San Antonio Stakes was California Chrome’s first start since a win Nov. 29 in the Hollywood Derby at Del Mar. Shared Belief had not raced since winning the Malibu Stakes here Dec. 26.
Shared Belief ($4) was a slight favorite over the 7-5 California Chrome.
As expected, both raced near the pace. Alfa Bird, a 19-1 outsider, set a pace of 23.65 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.87 for a half-mile. California Chrome was second, tracking the leader by 1 1/2 lengths and a length or two in front of Shared Belief.
Smith had Shared Belief three wide going into the first turn and found the preferred stalking position after a quarter-mile. He said there was a bit of strategy unfolding among the riders early.
“We were trying to make each other decide what to do,” he said. “The race needed to develop. We got into the rhythm of the race.”
Alfa Bird led on the backstretch but yielded his lead on the turn to California Chrome, who was challenged by Hoppertunity to his inside and Shared Belief to the outside. Hoppertunity won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in November and the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes here Jan. 10 and was the 5-1 third choice in the betting for the San Antonio Stakes.
The move Hoppertunity made to reach contention on the turn was as close as he came to the lead.
“I thought I’d win,” said jockey Martin Garcia said. “I stayed the same pace, and they took off. My horse was running, but it was a tough race.”
When California Chrome turned into the stretch, he drew a tremendous cheer from the crowd of 21,522. Victor Espinoza on California Chrome knew Shared Belief would be a threat.
“I knew he was coming,” Espinoza said.
California Chrome led by a length with a furlong remaining but could not hold off his rival.
“He ran an unbelievable race,” Espinoza said of California Chrome. “He got a little tired in the end.”
Hoopertunity finished third, beaten 6 1/2 lengths for second. Bronzo finished fourth, followed by You Know I Know, Imperative, Tonito M., Alfa Bird, and Clubhouse Ride.
It could be summertime before Shared Belief and California Chrome meet again. Shared Belief is a candidate for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 7. California Chrome is expected to make his next start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates on March 28.
Shared Belief races for a partnership led by sports talk show host Jim Rome. By Candy Ride, Shared Belief has won 9 of 10 starts and earned $2,332,200. A seven-time stakes winner, Shared Belief’s only loss was a troubled fourth behind Bayern in the Breeders’ Cup Classic here last November. California Chrome was third in that race.
Of all Shared Belief’s starts, Hollendorfer said that the San Antonio may have been the gelding’s finest performance.
“I couldn’t argue it,” Hollendorfer said. “He’s been carrying more weight and training on a regular schedule.”
The win left Smith anxious for the Big Cap.
“I don’t have big enough words in my vocabulary to describe what he did today,” he said.
What great racehorses. Shared Belief has fired EVERY start and CC almost every time. CC was very understandably a little short on conditioning compared to SB, but his better natural speed could easily result in him getting first run on Shared Belief and then keep going in a future hook up.. Fingers crossed these two stay sound and intersect further on down the road when they are both at their peaks. Great jobs by both hosses who have what you can't teach/coach...talent!!! Bayern could have something to say as well. Hoppertunity, a very nice hoss but I believe Mr.Baffert will send him out of town for slightly softer spots with big pots. He was right there until the cream rose to the top in the final 3/16s. IMO!!
So glad we had a good honest horse race with no hanky-panky. Can I say that? Can only hope that it kicks off a great year to come! Can I say that?
Shared Belief=Freak.Me and a old school horseplayer took a flight to LA Dec 13 for one last goodbye to HP. Watched SB in the Hollywood Futurity.Went down to the rail midstretch to watch the race.What a machine.After being in the business 25 years and watching many greats. you know when you're seeing class.This horse has done nothing wrong since that day 14 months ago.After his minor setback with his foot injury,the 5 million bonus series was set up .I knew it fit him like a glove.And if not for Bayerns' antics,I like many believe it would have.Enjoy this special horse.He's old school.He'll stalk,rate,set the pace,close,sprint,route,dirt ,synthetic,and if given the chance with his breeding turf also.I'm not discounting California Chrome.He's great for the game.But this gelding is special and he won't run off to the breeding shed.Chrome deserved HOY in 2014, but there's a new sheriff in town.
After thinking about the race for 48 hours, I think CC was a short horse. I'm not saying he would have beat SB, but I think it could have been closer.
You could only duck him so long Colburn. My hat off to true Horse of the Year. A true champion Shared Belief!!!!
Love both these guy's. Their great history making horses. Would have like to seen Bayern in the race but I think that team knew they couldn't beat Shared Belief. Bayern will always be Judas to me after the BCC .
Thank god I didn't bet in this race!! Also I saw no value which is why I didn't bet
Can we please just admit facts about chrome. Sa derby, ky derby,preakness who did he beat candy boy,commanding curve n ride on curlin (who did win an optional 30 at oaklawn)hes off board in belmont n penn derby, he had EVERY chance in bc classic n hung like yesterday's wash n then he wins a turf race beating a filly n 5 allowance horses, he never has been GREAT n never will be. 9 wins n 7 losses is not a superstar. Hes a decent horse n no more. Funny cide part 2. Every stat here is a fact. May we have a reAl. superstar for ne xt few years in shared belief
The smile on Hollendorfer's face said it all. He was in awe of his horse's performance & has a unassuming confidence in what Shared Belief can accomplish for the balance of the year. Hollendorfer will go about his business & leave the bragging to others.
I don't feel there was a real excuse given by the cc camp. What people have not mentioned was the fact that sb wasn't a serious threat in either the 3yo or Hoyt voting but was a serious favorite. He went from being a small track and synthetic horse to doing more than any three year old did by defeating losers twice. I'm disappointed by toast of ny as he's a nice horse but unless there's an issue with him theyre being timid. Hoppers unity and several bag feet horses are constant also rans. Chrome was fit and may have run his best race yesterday imo. He was outclassed. The bc should have had both the fan and sports writers opinion in it. It was a non race. I said long ago Hayden would win a route race of importance. If game on dude didn't retire I was feeling groggy as I thought he'd finally win and the way the race played he probably would've. Look at the races where he had similar trips to bayern. He sometimes was awesome similar to Hayden but he was faster. The bc and the voters were a joke at the end of the day two horses were undefeated with four wins in older competition. Main sequence and wise Dan. Dan was a freak and I tried to beat him and main sequence but wow. Cc winning hoty with several losses and early wins versus state breds and losing even sprints were a joke. I cashed when it counted and tried to beat him. He ran his normal race and his bc defeat was a normal race for him. His boo boo in the Belmont is a common thing and didn't effect the outcome. I worked the day and the track changed during the day. I loved batsmen and close hatches after earlier it was a closers course. I didn't like the second place horse in the Belmont but I played him knowing he'd be now on a front runner inside speed track. I knew social inclusion and cc would be otb in their races. With the filly I liked her bit wasn't sure if the pletcher filly was the same as her 3yo season. She wasn't. That's the race I lost the most in due to it. Yesterday I was spot on. The handicappers knew sb was best and they put on a show. El Kabeir did nothing wrong in defeat. He ran into lightly raced horses.the kind in the ky field and he got beat by seemingly a good one that's well bred. Dortmund disappointed a little but Baffert sometimes either over trains or doesn't have a horse cranked up but he did his job. I'm glad the synthetic joke with no studies is over and now Dubai and kernel and have learned. I was all over the malt pun challenge knowing the favorite had no shot. As much as I'm no cc fan he ran his race, the oh he hadn't run in two months is a non issue. An took 6 weeks and he ran often after breaks and I don't think we've seen his best yet. Constitution, I love this horse but he seems like wildcat red and needs gulf stream. He had the race handed to him and the long talked about Lea could only chase. Not a bad beat. Just a loss. Plus he has had now 2 races in12 months. There are a lot of head turners. Bayeen is not like Bafferts prior three year olds that run fast faster and kick clear. He's been in the tight place at the right time. I expect him to win a race or two and won't be surprised with anything. But sb, cc, I guess honor code and if constitution and Lea stay sound and can run out of Florida they can be heard from. I've enjoyed getting the non pool horses at vegas odds the past few years as opposed to the ones offered at 1-1 in pools. Cc was 35-1. I tried to beat him in later races but had already played 50 on him. I have othersat 150-1. It's gonna be an interesting year. Toast of New York is possibly a major key player. But honestly Americas sweetheart was untapable and if not a negative report by pets and her being odds on in the Haskell, having the head case social inclusion bang into her and Bayern getting another gift she'd have been hoty. If wise Dan had one more race he would've been. If shared belief had one more he'd have been. Main sequence entered the year as a nobody but nobody had a 4-4 year with all grade ones. Cc probably ran his best race yesterday. No excuses, even Hoppertunity ran well. Why should Hollendirfer go to unchartered watersinDubai? Sure Cc is doing it for a trainer that never had a good horse but he stayed away from sb to go to pa to get a performance bonus. He will never make significant money as a stud. So big plays even if losses make more sense. Sb has no future as a stud so smart plays are all they have. There were literally 6 great horses last year. The one that won hoty list three times. The second, barren list worse and the others list one race or none. The Sport writers are fools. Sb was a clear favorite and easy winner and it wasn't because he was more fit than cc. Cc was supposed to be a monster and wasn't and while he never got his butt kicked like bayernseveral times he did lose races. The oh he doesn't like running inside or outside depending on the race were ridiculous. He's outrun his pedigree and has a high cruising speed and a late kick. i think bodiemeister was faster