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Breeders' Cup 2017

Hype Builds Around Shared Belief

Shared Belief close 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Alex Evers


The newest sensation of the horse racing world is the two-year-old gelding Shared Belief. The dark bay son of Candy Ride demonstrated tremendous professionalism and crushed his opposition by almost six lengths in last Saturday's Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park.

Everything about the performance was fantastic, including the final time of 1:42.16 for the 8.5 furlongs. Indeed, that time compared very favorably to the winning time of 1:50.07 for older males going nine furlongs in the Grade 3 Native Diver two races earlier on the card.

TimeformUS PPs

TimeformUS Chief Figure Maker Craig Milkowski had the unenviable task of assigning speed figures for that day's card at Hollywood Park. He decided to cut the Futurity loose from the rest of the day and apply a separate variant to it. Craig opted to do this because he was skeptical of the top four finishers in the Futurity all achieving big new career-top speed figures, and because he didn't like the chances that all the older horses in the Native Diver regressed in a significant way.

Believe it or not, this wasn't the first time that a horse won the Hollywood Futurity in fast time and freakish fashion, only to have the speed figure for the race controversially reduced in the figure making process. 

In 1989, the mighty two-year-old Grand Canyon demolished his field by 6.5 lengths in the Hollywood Futurity. His final time of 1:33 flat still stands as the fastest mile ever run by a two-year-old on dirt. His Beyer speed figure would have been 120 with a straight variant. As you can read here, it was reduced to a 106 for virtually the same reasons we at TimeformUS decided to handle Shared Belief's race as we did. 

A horse D. Wayne Lukas compared to Mike Tyson and publicly raved about, the ill-fated Grand Canyon would never run another race after his freakish Futurity triumph. He was euthanized at age 3 after contracting Laminitis following a leg injury.  

Lukas had told reporters that the $825,000 yearling purchase would win the following year's Kentucky Derby. However, it would be a different son of Fappiano who would go on to capture the 1990 Kentucky Derby. His name was Unbridled, and he had sold for a mere $70,000 at auction. 

While not at all tragic like Grand Canyon, the Bobby Frankel-trained filly Country Star is another sobering reminder of what can go wrong with a hyped up modern two-year-old. 

On December 15th 2007, Country Star dazzled racing fans by winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes for two-year-old fillies in the tremendous final time of 1:40.54

Three races earlier that very day at Hollywood Park, the older filly Zenyatta needed 1:40.97 to impressively win an entry level allowance race. Not only did Country Star run a faster final time than the older Zenyatta, but she also ran faster closing fractions. Zenyatta closed 2.5 lengths into the teeth of a 30.94 second final 5/16th clocking. Country Star, meanwhile, closed 3.5 lengths into the teeth of a 30.40 second final 5/16th clocking. Moreover, Zenyatta ran her final 1/16th in a fast 6.36 seconds. Country Star ran hers in a faster 6.08 seconds. 

Not only did Country Star have Bobby Frankel in her corner, she was sired by Empire Maker, and her dam was a Grade 1 winner going a route of ground on dirt. Surely Country Star was headed for great things, right?  


She didn't make her three-year-old debut until the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, where she was bet to even-money favoritism over eventual champion Proud Spell. Country Star finished fifth in the Ashland. She finished sixth in the Kentucky Oaks with that prep under her, and never was able to live up to the promise she demonstrated as a two-year-old.

If Shared Belief is to live up to his potential, he will have to stay sound and reproduce his synthetic form on a dirt surface. 

On this blog about a month ago, I rated Shared Belief the fourth best two-year-old in the country. This was my opinion of him at the time.

#4: Shared Belief After an eye-catching debut win at Golden Gate, this son of Candy Ride was exceptionally impressive while winning the Hollywood Prevue by almost 8 lengths. He was assigned a TimeformUS speed figure of 102 for the effort, and should only improve with added distance. The big question mark is that he hasn't been tried on dirt yet, and some Candy Rides won't handle the dirt as well as the synthetic. Remember Sidney's Candy? He was also a Candy Ride out of a Storm Cat mare. He dominated the Santa Anita Derby, winning by 4.5 lengths over a synthetic surface that has since been removed. However, in the Kentucky Derby, Sidney's Candy finished 17th, and he never proved himself a top-class dirt horse in subsequent tries over the surface.

Well, Shared Belief emphatically answered the distance question. The dirt question is the one that remains, and we're not so sure about the answer.

While speaking about Shared Belief, the excellent HRTV commentator Jeff Siegel said on-air: "He's a little wide in front, and he's never run on dirt before. A trainer who will remain nameless said to me that he believes Shared Belief won't be the same horse once he finally competes on a dirt surface."

In the same segment, Jeff Siegel continued to speculate on possible chinks in the armor of Shared Belief. Siegal said: "20 years ago, I saw a two-year-old win the Hollywood Futurity with the best performance I had seen by any two-year-old since Seattle Slew. His name was Afternoon Deelites, and I was absolutely convinced he'd go a mile and a quarter. He looked like he'd go a mile and a quarter, but he just couldn't go that far, and he turned out to be only a nice sprinter, miler type. You simply can't know for sure if a horse wants to go that far until they try it."

If Shared Belief can stay sound and reproduce his form on a dirt surface, it will make for a great deal of excitement. He may have a huge upside, but the reality is that modern two-year-olds like him rarely live up to their promise.

TimeformUS PPs



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Older Comments about Hype Builds Around Shared Belief...

Well,the shouting is not even over when today at Gulfstream Commissioner and Top Billing put a new dimension into the mix.Top Billing looks like he will be a dangerous horse.So much for the hype on SB.Horses come out of the woodwork now,and these 2 are legit,and going 9 panels at that.
Nice of Daniel Ward to post here. If this DW is in fact the assistant trainer, then they apparently do care about finding out about dirt, as he is quoted in the BH article as saying the horse is shipping to Santa Anita next week specifically to see "how he trains on the dirt".
this is what horse racing is about, dreaming and daydreaming. I hope Shared Belief goes on to answer all my dreams
Thanks for confirming, Mary.
Yes, he is the one and only, and best of luck to Dan with his Derby horse.
Lenny,first of all i am a Northeasterner. Never have i ever thought of or will ever think of the stupid East / West so called rivalry. They are race horses who happened to be stabled at said State. Does that mean in the 90's when the top West Coast horses came East and won,that they were better. No Way. As far as S.B. , you figured it all out after 1 good race that he stands out over the rest of the 2yo crop. In the race prior,he won by 7. He beat a horse who also ran in the Cash Call and was so good,that the Oddsmaker made him a crisp 30-1 shot. The other 2 were not even claimers. The final one was the overhyped Kobes Back.who ran once and was running off of a 4 month layoff.
There's always negative thinking...However for the time being he stands out and he Will handle the dirt...The remaining question is "Class" you still have Honor Code on the other side of the pond and back east horses have shown their abilility to kick our ass Look at Game On Dude when confonted
careful smhing :) >> Before catching it, my last post omitted the 2 :O
Thanks, amino. Sometimes I have to smh....
It does not matter who he had in the race and did not. He was huge when he broke his maiden,they paid a lot of money for him.Doubt it was only because he beat the favorite. Nobody is questioning the success of the sale.If this horse never ran again ,it was an excellent sale. In regards to Candy Ride working 1.35 for a mile. Do you know how many horse have worked much better than that and never became anything, They are affectinately known as "MORNING GLORYS" . So excuse me if i am not impressed by his workout. I never questioned Candy Ride as a Race Horse. When he finally sires a horse that is a monster on the dirt,then i will listem .It might be this one. I am not criticizing this horse ,as many think i am. I just want him to show me he can do what his half and maybe full sibs(if any) have not done. He is a very impressive race horse so far.He has done nothing wrong .
tmallios1, Hollendorfer trained the post time favorite and eventual 2nd place finisher in Shared Belief's debut race at Golden Gate. Shared Belief blew him away with disdainful ease in the stretch and an offer was made to buy the gelding when it was learned he was available for sale. No matter what happens going forward, it's been a brilliant purchase, that's for sure. I wish Hollendorfer and his team luck. I was a huge fan of Candy Ride as a horse. He was sensational on turf in South America. Dominated Medaglia D' Oro in the Pacific Classic in a dirt race that got a huge figure on everyone's numbers. Did it all for Ron McAnally, who is pretty squeaky clean himself. Candy Ride was an impressive work horse as well. Worked a mile in 1:35 2/5 at Del Mar. Shame he got hurt. He had a world of talent.
like 2 goblin... this place needs a real big guy, thanks Daniel.
If you are the Ward that Goblin is referringto.Good luck to all of you.Has to be exciting.Now regarding your comments on the sire and running styles.I did not need to know if Candy Ride could run on the poly or not. Except for a few of his prodgeny who ran ok on the dirt,the reat have been nothing to write home about. In regards to Sidneys Candy,he was a speed horse. But if you listened to Sadler speak about him.He always spoke about how he was able to relax and not pull. He was just extremely talented. Somehow , i think that anincredible horseman like Hollendorfer already knows how this guy can or will handle the dirt. If not,shame on you guys. I am sure a good amount was paid for this guy after his firdt race. Doubt Hollendorfer would buy blind.So if you ask me,both horses have the same style,they rekax and go. Being on the engine is determined by the competition.
These connections are cautious with their horses tho.
JMAC,something tells me that these guys don't care if they find out about the dirt or not. Their number one concern is to run in the Kentucky Derby and make sure that he has a spot in the Starting Gate. I do not think he has any points yet. So if he only has 2 preps,the first one will be to get him fit. Then they will roll the dice for points at Keenelands carpet. Seriously doubt ,they would push in all their chips in the Santa Anita Derby. A bad race there,and there is no Derby. At least at Keeneland,assuming he is fit and ready.Second place is a very good possibility. Enough to guarantee a spot for the post position draw.
Which would be good if they try dirt once.
Somebody mentioned earlier that Hollendorfer said that this guy would only have 2 potential preps ,for a possible run in the Derby. Something tells me the Bluegrass will be one of them.
Still unsure is he'll handle the dirt.
Already talking Triple Crown, huh? He reminded you of Landaluce?
Shared Belief does not have the same running style as Sidney's Candy(One dimensional speed horse), or Twirling Candy(Pulled the first part of the race, tough to get to relax). He has a perfect running style for dirt. He is the fastest finisher, as well as having tactical speed. Candy Ride never ran on synthetic which was installed long after he finished his career. Before the Cash Call the question was the distance, before Santa Anita it will be the surface, before Kentucky it will be the shipping, before the Preakness it will be the two weeks in between, before the Belmont it will be the 1 1/2, and so on. Really, no one knows for sure but we'll find out soon enough.

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