2014 Breeders' Cup Classic: Shared Belief chasing history

2014 Breeders' Cup Classic: Shared Belief chasing history
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire
When 2013 Juvenile Champion Shared Belief faces the starter in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday, November 1, he will be doing more than just seeking his eighth consecutive career win. The 3-year old gelding will also be seeking to make history by becoming just the second Classic winner to earn a victory in the championship race while remaining undefeated.
In the entire 30 year history of the Breeders’ Cup Championships, only the great Zenyatta has won the Classic while undefeated. In 2009, the daughter of Street Cry faced 11 rivals in the Classic at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. Utilizing her patented stretch run, the big mare passed Gio Ponti in late stretch to win by a length and run her career record to a perfect 14-for-14. The very next year, Zenyatta once again put her perfect record on the line, looking to make it 20-for-20, when she traveled east to once again face 11 rivals in the Classic, this time at Churchill Downs. Racing in dead last for a good portion of the race, Zenyatta unleashed her stretch run only to see it fall short for the first time. Unable to run down Blame, the champion mare finished second by a head and showcased her greatness as much in defeat as she ever did in victory. She retired with a 20: 19-1-0 record and wins in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Classic as well as her infamous runner-up 2010 Classic effort.
Shared Belief has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same category as Zenyatta, but he is well on his way to leaving a legacy as storied as hers. Named the Eclipse winner for Champion 2-Year Old Male in 2013 after finishing the year a perfect 3-for-3, including wins in the G3 Hollywood Prevue and the G1 CashCall Futurity, the gelding was at the top of the list for early Kentucky Derby favorites. Unfortunately, he missed both the Triple Crown trail and the Triple Crown itself due to lingering foot issues. He made it back to the races in late May and quickly reeled off four more victories, the most impressive of which were wins over his elders in both the G1 Pacific Classic and the G1 Awesome Again.
By virtue of his Pacific Classic win, Shared Belief has proven that he is more than capable of handling the 1 ¼ mile Classic distance. He stopped the clock in a very good 2:00.28 for Del Mar’s signature race, less than a second off the late Dullahan’s track record time. Shared Belief also answered any questions critics may have had about his ability to handle traditional dirt. After making his first four career starts on synthetics, the gelding tried dirt for the first time in the G2 Los Alamitos Derby. The end result was a 4 ¼ length romp. Shared Belief then showed that that win was not a fluke by getting up for a neck victory in the Awesome Again after traveling a good deal further than most of his rivals thanks to Sky Kingdom and Victor Espinoza floating him wide on the turns. The Awesome Again also proved that Shared Belief would have no problem handling the new Santa Anita surface.
Shared Belief has already answered many questions in his short career. Can he handle dirt after racing exclusively on synthetics? Yes! Can he race successfully at the classic distance of 1 ¼ mile? Yes! Can he face his elders and win? Yes! But for all the questions he’s already answered, he still has one very big question to answer: Can he face the best horses in the world at the classic distance and become just the second Classic winner to add their name to the list of Classic winners and remain undefeated while doing so? With the defections of some of the nation’s leading handicap males leading up to November 1, Shared Belief’s chances are looking better and better. History, here comes Shared Belief! 

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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