Updated on 04/23/2015 9:45AM

Shared Belief stumbles, pulled up, vanned off in Charles Town Classic

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Nikki Sherman
Jerry Hollendorfer looks on as Shared Belief is loaded into an ambulance after stumbling in the Charles Town Classic.

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- Shared Belief sustained  a stifle injury during the Charles Town Classic on Saturday and was pulled up six furlongs into the 1 1/8-mile race by jockey Mike Smith. He was then vanned back to his stall in the equine ambulance.

Shared Belief stumbled at the start of the Classic and dropped far back in the nine-horse field. After failing to respond to Smith's urging, Shared Belief was pulled up on the second turn of the three-turn race.

According to steward Danny Wright, West Virginia state veterinarian, Elizabeth Daniel told the stewards that "Shared Belief appears to have a stifle injury more than anything else. It doesn't appear life threatening or career ending. It is a soft tissue injury."

Smith described Shared Belief's race this way:

"The ground broke out from under him and he kind of slipped at the start. They left out of there really quickly, but he got up and he seemed all right. But going into the second turn he seemed to go off behind and I pulled him up.

"Hopefully, this is something that they can fix and he will be all right. He grabbed his right front, but that isn't the problem he was having. I just pray that he is going to be all right."

Jerry Hollendorfer  said he was too busy to talk when reached after the race.

Shared Belief, a winner of 10 of 11 starts and the top-ranked horse in North America, was the 1-5 favorite in the $1.5 million Charles Town Classic.

Although the Charles Town track appeared to be in good shape on Saturday, Shared Belief's injury was the second serious one on the card.

In the fifth race, Down Town Allen, an 8-year-old mare with more than $1 million in earnings, pulled a suspensory ligament and was pulled up in the $50,000 Original Gold Stakes. She is expected to undergo ankle surgery next week, according to trainer John A. Casey.

Downtown Allen had won 24 previous races at Charles Town.