Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Shared Belief went past Horse of the Year
California Chrome down the stretch to win Saturday’s $500,000 San Antonio
Stakes at Santa Anita as both were making their 2015 debuts.
In one of the most anticipated matchups in recent racing history, reigning
Horse of the Year California Chrome took on former Eclipse Award winner Shared
Belief in the 1 1/8-mile race with seven other older thoroughbreds along for
Shared Belief, ridden by Mike Smith, went off as the even-money favorite from
post 5 and California Chrome, with jockey Victor Espinoza, was the 7-5 second
pick and broke from post 8. Hoppertunity, trained by Bob Baffert, broke from
the inside post as the 5-1 third choice.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Shared Belief left the gate in good order and
settled into fourth as Alfa Bird and California Chrome battled for the lead.
California Chrome went to the front on the final turn as Hoppertunity and
Shared Belief made it a three-way race. Coming into the stretch the top two
selections moved past Hoppertunity for the showdown everyone came to see.
Trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome had a short lead along the rail in
mid-stretch and appeared in control. Shared Belief battled through the stretch
and took the lead with 100 yards to go. The gelding registered a 1 1/2-length
victory over last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness champ with Hoppertunity
“The race kind of came up on paper like we thought it would,” Hollendorfer
said. “We got lucky that way. We wanted to be around third early. Mike (Smith)
said if he came away from there and shot to the lead, he might try that. But
it ended up the way we talked about it, so that was real good.”
Bronzo was fourth followed by You Know I Know, Imperative, Tonito M., Alfa
Bird and Clubhouse Ride.
“California Chrome just got a little tired the last 20 yards. It was an
awesome race. He was running. I could feel him tire on me over the last 20
yards,” Espinoza said.
The time for the San Antonio was 1:48.45 on a fast track.
Shared Belief, co-owned by Hollendorfer, recorded his second straight win as
the gelding began his 4-year-old season. The victory was worth $300,000 to
bring his bankroll to $2,332,200 with nine wins in 10 lifetime starts.
The gelding was undefeated through his first seven career starts until
finishing fourth in a controversial Breeders’ Cup Classic last November. He
came back on Dec. 26 with a neck victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
Shared Belief was the 2013 Eclipse Award winner as champion 2-year-old male
and was a finalist for last year’s 3-year-old colt and gelding Eclipse
Shared Belief paid $4.00, $2.40 and $2.10. California Chrome returned $2.80
and $2.20, and Hoppertunity paid $2.60 to show.