04/07/2015 1:16PM

Shared Belief heavy favorite in Charles Town Classic

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Benoit & Associates
Santa Anita Handicap winner Shared Belief will have few opponents in the Charles Town Classic April 18.

The field for the April 18 Charles Town Classic is coming together, with Shared Belief a heavy favorite in a short field. On Tuesday, Bob Baffert confirmed that he will not be sending Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern.

“The race was never on my radar,” Baffert said.

Bayern was slowed by a quarter crack early this year but has had six works since March 14, including a bullet seven-furlong drill in 1:23.60 at Santa Anita on Tuesday.

According to Erich Zimny, vice president of racing operations at Charles Town, the other expected Classic runners are Moreno, Vyjack, Imperative, Street Babe, and Looking Cool.

Shared Belief is 10 for 11 lifetime, with his only loss coming last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where he was bothered twice soon after the start. The 1 1/8-mile Charles Town Classic will be his first start outside of California.

Moreno looks to be the top challenger. Trained by Eric Guillot, he was beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Shared Belief when second in the Santa Anita Handicap two starts back. He finished a close third in the New Orleans Handicap in his most recent start.

Vyjack, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, tired to finish fifth last time out in the Stymie at Aqueduct following a three-month layoff. His most recent win came in the Grade 2 Kelso at Aqueduct last September.

Imperative upset Game On Dude and Moreno to win last year’s Charles Town Classic for trainer George Papaprodromou. He is winless in eight starts since.

Street Babe, a 4-year-old Street Sense gelding, has made only three starts. Trained by Michael Dilger, he won the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds in his last race Feb. 21.

Looking Cool was claimed for $62,000 by Peter Walder out of a second-level optional-claiming race at Gulfstream Park on March 14.

There are three different participation incentives built into the purse of the Classic. Shared Belief will receive $100,000 for winning the Pacific Classic. Moreno will receive $50,000 for his win last summer in the Grade 1 Whitney. Under this scenario, the total purse open to all entrants would be $1.35 million.

The bonuses are split evenly between a horse’s owner and trainer.