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HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

California Chrome or Shared Belief?

 

Chromies, we have a problem.

Even after California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid came up short last month, the general consensus was that he had his division’s Eclipse Award locked up. No 3-year-old had done nearly as much as the Cal-bred That Could, and even with the son of Lucky Pulpit getting a well-deserved rest through the summer, California Chrome appeared able to rest atop his lofty pedestal.

In just one minute and 47 seconds, Shared Belief shattered that illusion.

Last year’s champion 2-year-old male ran his record to 5-for-5 Saturday with his victory in the Los Alamitos Derby. Candy Boy, a talented 3-year-old in his own right, challenged him going around the far turn, but once Mike Smith shook the reins at the top of Los Alamitos’s long stretch, Shared Belief was gone.

Suddenly, California Chrome’s stranglehold on the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award got just a bit looser. It’s just one Grade 2 win, but now, one can envision a scenario where, for the first time since 1972, a winner of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes will not capture the Eclipse Award.

Shared Belief’s range of options is very wide. If trainer Jerry Hollendorfer desires to send his star gelding east, he could potentially run in either the Haskell Invitational or Jim Dandy, followed by an attempt at the Travers Stakes. If Shared Belief stays in California, he could potentially lock up with older horses in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic, followed by another showdown with that group in Santa Anita’s Awesome Again.

Meanwhile, California Chrome’s options may be limited by his current rest at Harris Farms. Trainer Art Sherman has said he expects his star back at Los Alamitos in mid-August, meaning a run in the Pacific Classic may be out of the question. That leaves the Awesome Again, or, as Sherman indicated earlier this week, possibly a prep race at his home track prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

Shared Belief has many more ways to bolster his resume than California Chrome does. There’s quite a gap to make up, but it’s far from insurmountable. What happens if Shared Belief wins a few Grade 1 races between now and a showdown with California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup Classic? Wouldn’t that race then serve as the deciding factor in the race for the Eclipse Award? 
 
How much of a departure is this from the racing world’s line of thinking after the Preakness Stakes? At that point, we thought California Chrome was a superhorse, the horse destined to break one of the longest droughts in all of sports. Less than two months later, he may not even be the best 3-year-old horse in training.  
 
It’s a fascinating conundrum, one that may sort itself out on the track later this season. With any luck, this is a brewing rivalry, one racing fans will be able to enjoy not just this year, but next year as well.

 

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Older Comments about California Chrome or Shared Belief?...

"tmallios · If you are going to address me,have the courtesy of spelling my name right Mack Kennery" tmallios/ Just got to love this site, the king of the world who knows everything about everything, is rude, crude, and a phony dude, "doesn't give a rat's ass" about anything or anyone, has three friends and a cartoon character 998 in the world in which he calls friends, and will be down to one after a disagreement occurrs is worried about how his name is spelled. To clarify amigo998 who lives and dies by his every word, and hasn't got enough courage to insult people except through the peephole in the closet which measures 9X9X8 will never disagree with him. Unless of course medication brings them together.I doubt that will happen. Sorry Tamino998, I didn't mean to take so much of your 18 HRN day. Please when you and/or 998 reply come up with something more than ITALIAN BOO BOO ICE TEA etc. Lastly in your defense I would just say your a jerk with an inferiorty complex born a male gelding so you just have to be a know it all tough guy to live with yourself. You need to borrow some IQ points (a lot) to keep me amused anymore TM70. PS. Tamino998 sorry I couldn't get to you sooner but the storm knocked out the power and I got to you first as always, love ICE TEA BOO BOO ITALIAN
You fell for it, animalnurse. Done to rile you up. I wouldn't be surprised if his name is on the 10 most undesirables at Z.com, and, by the way, how did you escape that swirling vortex? She's a big, easy target when the debate material wears thin, however some of his comments are of interest. Naps are just so much more appealing, so step it up, Mark. This isn't even second tier riling. I've seen the pros.
Mark, my dude are you just trolling this message board? Ok, first you are entitled to your opinion and you can believe CC's breeding "sucks" but your statement , in my opinion is invalid. CC has won three major Grade 1 races. He has more Grade 1 wins than any of his competitors in the Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness. He defeated THREE Grade 1 winners, TWO Grade 2 winners, and THREE Grade 3 winners. Shared Belief hasn't even won ONE Grade 1 race! You think CC's pedigree sucks? Well OBVIOUSLY HARRIS FARM did something right because this LUCKY PULPIT OUT OF NOT FOR LOVE colt managed to beat horses sired by Curlin, Pioneerof the Nile, Candy Ride, TAPIT, Artie Schiller, Any Given Saturday, Rock Hard Ten, Into Mischief, Indian Charlie, Street Boss, Noble Causeway, Roman Ruler, Henny Hughes, Harlan's Holiday, Master Command, Hard Spun, Giant's Causeway, Tiznow, Rockport Harbor, Lemon Drop Kid, and Rock Hard Ten and broomare sires such as A.P. Indy, Storm Cat, Mr, Greeley, More Than Ready, In Excess, and Vicar just to name a few. SHARED BELIEF HAS A LOOOOONGGGGGG WAY TO GO BEFORE HE IS EVEN ON CC'S LEVEL! You have the most warped opinions it makes me wonder if you even know anything about horses let alone horse RACING!
  • MarkKennedy · Um first of all 50 yrs with horses is not trolling the message boards. 2. Just because he beat horse that are sired by big names doesn't make him a great horse nor a sire · 162 days ago
ok Mark since you think CC and Tonalist are second tier, why don't you tell us which three year old males are FIRST tier. Cause I'm gonna tell you, this crop of three year olds are unimpressive. CC was my Derby pick so I'm not a band wagon jumper either. He has been the most impressive horse this year,
  • MarkKennedy · Totally agree with you these three yr old are all unimpressive. Now the ones to come back to really keep an eye on are. Hoppertunity. Top billing and shared belief. I believe all 3 are tier 1 horses · 162 days ago
you should be banned for speaking ill about the Queen Zenyatta! Entertainment and story is a part of a good horse too. Zenyatta
We'll I've never been a cc fan. I have always believed after all the early injuries he was just the best of the second tier group. Shared belief and a host of other top notch 3 yrolds will be making their return and I will be surprised if cc pulls off another big win anywhere. ( big win is a grade 1)
Mark I sure don’t get where you’re coming from. You jump on Zenyatta’s reputation and yet I don’t think you have any idea how many G1 horses she beat in her career, not just of G1 races, but G1 winners. Work it out, you’ll be astounded. You jump on California Chrome and say who did he beat? Answer, a lot of good horses in the Derby and Preakness. Then you say that Commissioner is not a top tier horse. I happen to agree. Then you say that Top Billing is going to be the best three year-old this year and who really knows, he might be, but who did he ever beat? Well he didn’t win the race, but he did finish in front of Commissioner in the Fountain of Youth, but then that can’t mean much because according to you Commissioner isn’t a top tier horse. And as for Ride on Curlin, an allowance and maiden winner in 12 career starts, I don’t think he’s beaten any horse of consequence. I happen to think that Shared Belief is on a par with CC and maybe even better, but he still has to prove it at this point. I also think that Tonalist is going to challenge the top three year olds throughout the year, but he got off easy in the Belmont by skipping the Derby and Preakness. I’m not convinced yet that Danza is the real deal, not off the Arkansas Derby, and his third place finish in the Derby might be a bit of a mirage, the same as Commanding Curve finishing second and then not showing up in the Belmont. The truth is California Chrome is the best at this point and the others have a lot of catching up to do.
We are also forgetting ride on curlin who at this point has a better showing than shared belief and could be right there at the end as well
You are so right Diane,that is why i said at his best. For all we know,CC may never run again.
We'll relva answer the question. Who the heck has cc beat.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • Mike Relva · And..... I don't believe for a sec you would turn down owning CC. You talk about bad pedigree,don't hear you commenting on many horses with "superstar" blood flowing in their veins that don't pan out. Tell me it's never happened like that. As for Zenyatta,she's once in a lifetime,many well known trainers and not talking about west coast trainers,called her a Superhorse. Hate to tell you bro,your opinion like mine doesn't count for shit regarding if you like CC or not. Not a blimp on the radar. · 163 days ago
  • Mike Relva · Ok,will tell you what's stupid to behave as if winning 2/3 of the Triple is like running in a $2500 claiming race,you undercut CC's accomplishments and quite frankly it's telling on your part. Derby/Preakness winners don't come along everyday,ask the many that's owned a potential horse of greatness that never panned out. · 163 days ago
If you are going to address me,have the courtesy of spelling my name right Mack Kennery
  • Mike Relva · Not so sure he can spell,maybe he should repeat 3rd grade. · 163 days ago
  • MarkKennedy · Difference between you and me. I could care less how u spell my name. I here to discuss horses and horse racing Something trivial like that wouldn't offend me because I would assume it wasn't intentional. That's the difference between a horseman and someone that wants attention · 163 days ago
I want to say I respect everyone's opinion but I don't have to resort to personal insults to make me feel better. Hannah. Commissioner is not a tier 1 horse trust me. I also think once the big names come back to the track neither will tonalist and cc be anything but second tier. If they go on to prove me wrong I'll be the first to say I'm wrong but 50 yrs of studying and /or being involved training horses. I know horse flesh. I just think the feel good story blinds the real talent of this horse. That's just my opinion. Time will tell
Every 3yo except Shared Belief, Commisioner and Tonalist. And he was only beat by Commisioner and Tonalist because he was injured and tired
lastly second tier horses do string 5 graded wins when they arent racing against anyone just look at most of zenyattas wins
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • Mike Relva · Regarding Zenyatta,really? Did you practice saying that dribble in the mirror? lmao · 163 days ago
  • MarkKennedy · Next relva let's talk the dribble zen yantra raced in her own dam state on synthetic tracks race against crap except for her classic win which was on synthetic which has proven to be a bias. Hmm where the hell are synthetic tracks now. By next yr all will be gone. Once again it's folks that don't know what their talking about running everything down. They get hooked on a horse as a fan and can't see the forest for the trees. Other than her apple blossom win the only major other race she was in she lost. So in summary. I think she was a nice mare but a super horse sorry not for me they retreated to california and passed up real comp on dirt tracks · 163 days ago
yeah i mentioned top billing who was rated the number 3 yrold in us before injury and ride on curlin that has bneen in the thick of it all summer and just like all the other curlins you will see as he matures he will make cc look like the second tier horse he really is
  • Mike Relva · MARK- Your're either arrogant or stupid,maybe a little of both to rail against a Derby/Preakness winner. Guess you wouldn't like to own him. You know zero about racing!! · 163 days ago
  • MarkKennedy · Um no I wouldn't want to own him. His breeding sucks and he hasn't proven anything to me that would make someone spend 10 k to breed to . That's not stupid or arrogant. That's a fact. If your any kind of actual horseman you would look beyond those two wins. Fact. Only one horse from last yrs group of grade 1, win place or show two yrolds made it to the derby. That's unheard of due to injury. Fact that leaves the second tier horses to pick up the pieces. Fact. Cc times are not even impressive. Fact no winner of all the grade 1 races this yr has repeated a major win. Fact. That leaves approx ten different winners with nothing to show. Fact this group of current 3 yr olds has some of the slowest times. Fact I could go on for days Fact. Just because you win two legs doesn't a great horse it make. Fact cc will not win another grade 1 this yr. last fact. So if he doesn't and gets beat again. If you have 10 k in your pocket with his breeding are you goiing to send a mare to him. Fact. Hell no. So before you tout this horse as the best thing since sliced bread. No your facts. That my friend is not arrogant and is not stupid t · 163 days ago
and please tamilos tell me who again cc has beaten really nobody who? ride on curlin who hasnt matured is the only horse that was stable from last yr Other than that who hmmm tonalist yes thats right no he was beaten by him
Try again Mark. You mentioned to horses who have had and will not have any impact on the 3yo season.
Mark, 2nd tier horses dont string 5 graded stekes victorys that include the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, and I agree with tm here ther eare a couple of horses on that comeback list that arent very good
either way these two horses are great for California racing! Let's hope CC does run again and SB stays injury free the rest of the year. Hoping these two make it to BCC at Santa Anita.
While this will get everyone stirred up and hopefull make them watch and read about a 'rivalry'- we have yet to see if California Chrome comes back with the same talent and energy he had before the KD and if any other horse out there can match that talent and energy toward the end of the year.

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Meet Andrew Champagne

 

A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.


Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.