Shared Belief a horse to be reckoned with after Los Alamitos romp

Shared Belief passed the dirt test in a big way. He was dazzling in winning the Los Alamitos Derby, and, hopefully, sets up a clash with California Chrome down the road.

Mike Smith was along for the ride on Shared Belief in the Los Alamitos Derby.

Benoit Photo

It’s easy to watch champion Shared Belief run and think about what might have been after he missed the 2014 Triple Crown races with a foot injury. But his dominant win in the Los Alamitos Derby on Saturday night served as a reminder that it’s much more exciting to consider what is still to come for this gifted 3-year-old gelding.

Shared Belief improved to five wins in as many starts by overwhelming Grade 2 winner Candy Boy at the top of the Los Alamitos stretch en route to a 4 1/4-length runaway win under Mike Smith.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for a partnership that includes sports personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing, Shared Belief was 3-for-3 in 2013, including a 5¾-length romp in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity. The three wins came by a combined margin of 20½ lengths as Shared Belief toyed with his competition as a 2-year-old.

Foot trouble sidelined Shared Belief early this season and forced him off the Kentucky Derby trail. He returned with a 4¼-length score on May 26 at Golden Gate Fields in a 6-furlong allowance race, but the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby was his return to elite competition. It’s safe to say the champ is back on his game.

Shared Belief stalked pacesetter Can the Man from third early before moving up in tandem with Candy Boy on the final turn. He dispatched that rival with a powerful burst of speed entering the stretch and drove to a convincing win.

The Los Alamitos Derby should dispel any thoughts that Shared Belief would not be as formidable on dirt. His previous four victories came on synthetic surfaces, but Shared Belief was able to stalk a solid pace and still come home fast at 1 1/8-miles on dirt, covering the last eighth of a mile in just less than 12 seconds. He completed the Los Alamitos Derby in 1:47.

Shared Belief is from the sixth crop of 2003 Pacific Classic Stakes winner Candy Ride and is out of the Storm Cat mare Common Hope. Shared Belief is a half-brother (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to graded stakes winner Little Miss Holly and stakes-placed winner Double Major.

With five wins by a combined margin of 29 lengths and no stud deal to cause him to be whisked away to the breeding shed, the future looks like a lot of fun for Shared Belief and his fans. If a showdown with dual classic winner California Chrome comes later this fall … all the better.