The untarnished Shared Belief train keeps on rolling, and today in front of a large crowd at Del Mar, the champion took another big step forward by easily defeating older horses in the Grade 1 TVG Pacific Classic.
On paper it looked like the smooth striding dark bay had a lot to overcome today if he was to join his sire as an unbeaten winner of the million dollar race. Shared Belief was facing top older horses for the first time in the million dollar race. He had never been tested at the classic distance of ten furlongs before, and the gelded son of Candy Ride had the outside post of eleven to negotiate … all of this while making only his third start of the year. Keep in mind, Shared Belief was running in a six furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields just two starts ago. It may have seemed like a daunting task on paper, but this is no paper tiger. Seemingly just as easily as the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee had dispatched of his first five assignments, Shared Belief left race fans once again today with the wonderfully exciting question rolling of their collective tongues … Just how good can this one be?
Owned in majority by Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing, Shared Belief was sent off as the 6-5 favorite under Mike Smith. He broke a half-step slow and sat back to watch the early fireworks of Game On Dude and Mystery Train from the middle of the pack. As first the pair, and then Game On Dude alone, carved out testing fractions, Shared Belief waited for his chance to strike.
As Game On Dude motored into the Del Mar far turn, the only other three-year-old, Toast of New York, was the first to make his move on the second choice. It was not long, though, before the UAE Derby winner was joined by a streaking black horse on his outside. The battle was joined.
Shared Belief was on the outside, Game on Dude was on the rail, and Toast of New York was between, as the three talented runners hit the stretch together. Game on Dude was game, but it was clear that he had been softened up by the early pressure of Mystery Train. Whatever momentum Toast of New York had built up could not match how fast the unbeaten favorite was moving on his outside.
Shared Belief quickly struck the front as he moved inside mildly cutting off the path of his closest competition. There was little drama to the outcome from there, as Shared Belief cruised to a 2 3/4-length victory over Toast of New York, although Shared Belief did have to wait out an inquiry regarding the incident. Stewards rightfully left the order as finished. Imperative ran late to nip Game On Dude for the show money. Final time for the final Pacific Classic to be run over Polytrack was a solid 2:00.28.
With the victory, Shared Belief moved one step closer to a million dollar bonus awarded to any horse that can sweep the Los Alamitos Derby, Pacific Classic, and Breeders' Cup Classic.
After missing a big portion of the season, and all of the Triple Crown hooplah, last year’s juvenile champion has now positioned himself perfectly for another run at an Eclipse Award. Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, California Chrome, still leads the three-year-old pack, but with the Breeders’ Cup Classic looming just over two months away, it looks like a good old fashioned showdown at Santa Anita between America’s top two three-year-olds will be the place, and the race, to decide which one deserves the championship. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait!