07/03/2014 3:54PM

Shared Belief tries dirt in Los Alamitos Derby

Vassar Photography
Shared Belief, under Russell Baze, wins an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on May 26.

CYPRESS, Calif. – Shared Belief clinched the title of champion 2-year-old male of 2013 in his last stakes appearance, the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park last December. When he starts in Saturday’s $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby, Shared Belief can prove he still matters in the 3-year-old division.

Foot problems plagued Shared Belief earlier this year, ending chances for a start in the major stakes of the late winter and the spring’s Triple Crown. In his 3-year-old debut in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on May 26, Shared Belief had no trouble beating four rivals in a six-furlong race against older horses.

The Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby over 1 1/8 miles will be more difficult, a new distance, and against competition with recent accomplishments.

“This is a jump from six furlongs to a mile and an eighth,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said this week. “It’s not a perfect scenario. You have to make a choice, and that’s the decision I made.”

Shared Belief will be ridden for the first time by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the Los Alamitos Derby, which drew a field of seven. The race is the richest of the two-week summer meeting at Los Alamitos and will be the first on dirt for Shared Belief. He has run twice on the Tapeta Footings synthetic track at Golden Gate Fields and ran twice on the synthetic track at Hollywood Park last fall.

[Los Alamitos Derby: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“It’s a bit of a gamble to run on the dirt, but I’m willing to take the chance,” Hollendorfer said. “Knock on wood, we won’t have a problem.”

Hollendorfer considered other races for Shared Belief, including a start on turf at Del Mar or the $200,000 San Diego Handicap against older horses on the synthetic track at Del Mar. In the end, he opted for the last major dirt stakes for 3-year-olds in California this year. Later this summer, Shared Belief could race on the synthetic track at Del Mar or run in major stakes for 3-year-olds on dirt in another part of the country.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 Shared Belief. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is 7 for 18 (39 percent win rate and 14 in the money) with horses moving from synthetic surfaces to dirt and stretching from sprints to routes over the past three years. Click for more details. Matt Bernier

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“I was thinking that I’ll take it day-by-day,” Hollendorfer said. “If it works out in the second half of the year, I’ll be grateful. There are plenty of opportunities for 3-year-olds.”

There are plenty of 3-year-olds in the Los Alamitos Derby whose owners and trainers have similar aspirations.

Shared Belief will be tested by rivals such as Can the Man, who won the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita on June 7; Candy Boy, who was 13th in the Kentucky Derby; and Top Fortitude and Tonito M., who were first and second in the Grade 2 Laz Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita in May and later second and eighth in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7.

Trainer Doug O’Neill has two outsiders with Friendswith K Mill and Eddie’s First, both winless in stakes.

Can the Man led throughout the Affirmed, a strategy trainer Bob Baffert expects to utilize in the Los Alamitos Derby.

“His speed is his strength, so we’ll see what he can do,” Baffert said. “I don’t know how far he wants to go.”

The quarter-mile stretch should work well for closers such as Top Fortitude and Candy Boy. Candy Boy won the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita in February and was third to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby in April. The Kentucky Derby was not a favorable experience for Candy Boy, who was in traffic in the first turn.

“He never got in a comfortable place and never got over,” trainer John Sadler said. “He never really had a shot.”

Following that race, Candy Boy was sent back to California and rested for summertime stakes.

“We wanted to come home and regroup,” Sadler said. “He’s had two really nice works, and he looks good to me.”

Walter More than 1 year ago
Great job by King Jerry to have him ready for this test. East Coast, get ready since you will see this talented guy at your local racetrack soon. I don't suppose you folks will Share this Belief!
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Not with the bonus offered for Los al derby,pacific classic ,Breeders Cup Classic.He has the first leg and loves synthetic .Maybe next year.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Yep, and since he is a gelding it makes me wonder if they would go east. Jerry sure has proven he's not afraid to travel his horses. I really like that about him.
FESTUS ELROY More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief, Pacific Classic,Goodwood Handicap ,Breeders Cup Classic ,Horse Of The Year Bam!
AzPokerPlayer More than 1 year ago
Horse Racing is dead...too much greed with the takeout increases and drugs have ruined the game...it's hard to feel confident betting on an animal when you don't know if the trainer is juicing or not...the stewards aren't consistent on their DQ's...the track has a hard time letting the public know if the horses running have had extra works or if they have been gelded since their last start...the rising cost of racing forms makes the low price player unavailable to play the races everyday and now they charge us for information that used to be free...when was the last time you payed to walk into a casino and gamble? Like it or not but Horse Racing is gambling first and foremost and the horse player deserves better and we aren't getting that but the people in charge could either careless or are just cloudless or both...I'm thinking both and that's a shame:(
Mother More than 1 year ago
Classic case in point, 2014 belmont. When the morning line for tonalist and comisshioner over 20-1 and the track being quiet with key works.....however even more insane they installed california as a 2 to 5 favorite to take that 1 1/2 race. we all know what the catch was,it was to get new fans to drop a bucket load on the favorite. with them the track knew the odds wee stacked againsts him. in the real world in the belmont cal chrome is a 8 to 1 shot at best.
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Parimutuel wagering - Look it up.
AzPokerPlayer More than 1 year ago
*clueless not cloudless spell checker...and don't get me wrong I love the game, I just have a problem with the way it's been going and continues to go...I have followed the sport for 25 years and it is a beautiful game but they just aren't going to get my hard earned money anymore when they continue to cheat the fans:(
Allan Gauthier More than 1 year ago
Just read your post on the Queens Plate. Your the one that's clueless.
AzPokerPlayer More than 1 year ago
Come back here after the race and tell me that!
AzPokerPlayer More than 1 year ago
You were saying???? That's what I thought...I was dead on in the Queens Plate!
Frank Avilla More than 1 year ago
Los Al racing is worse than Fairplex. Just real cheap horses running. Look at Friday's card. 8 races of which 5 are maiden races, 1 non-winner's of 2. A 12.5k claiming race and s so-called "stakes race". This won't work. We need higher caliber races. Yesterday's races were just as bad. If we are going to get up to 6 weeks of this quality of racing then Los Al will just be Fairplex south and you'll see a big drop in handle. Have you ever seen a Pick6 carryover of $26,000 at HOL, SA or DMR?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Patience is a virtue. Rome wasn't built in a day. Etc. I'm enjoying Los Al racing because you have to play it differently and that's made the difference for me. It's not the same old. I welcome this new venue.
Steven Haversack More than 1 year ago
Dude it was Thursday and Friday everyone runs their cheaper horses those days, calm down..geez..
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Will have to get back to SA to win, even be in $
Donna Carlson More than 1 year ago
Shared Belief looked very classy schooling in the paddock of Los Alamitos today, but that long stretch there will give him a good work out.
Chuck Berger More than 1 year ago
Candy Boy had a horrific trip in the Derby. This could be a really good spot for him.