Shared Belief burst onto the scene on October 19, 2013 as he dazzled in a maiden special weight field at Golden Gate Fields. The gelding was so impressive that he caught the eye of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer who also ran a colt in the race that he liked quite a bit. Quickly, Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing privately purchased Shared Belief with Hollendorfer’s stamp of approval. The rest is history!
The gelded son of Candy Ride needed just two more races after that dominating maiden win to persuade the Eclipse Award voters that he was Two Year Old Male of the Year. He was dominant in winning the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue, and made it look equally as easy when winning the Grade 1 Cashcall Futurity to close out the year. Shared Belief was easily the favorite to win the 2014 Kentucky Derby, but sadly an injury forced him off the trail. Unfortunately, injuries and poor health ended up dramatically effecting his stellar career.
After recovering from injury, Shared Belief returned with business on his mind. After dominating an allowance field at Golden Gate in May, he then rattled off wins in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby, the Grade 1 Pacific Classic and the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes. Shared Belief went into the Breeders’ Cup Classic poised to win Horse of the Year if he could win the race. He went off as the favorite, but sadly was hit hard out of the gate by eventual winner Bayern, and was completely knocked out of the race. The fans of the horse were heartbroken. Shared Belief was better than what he displayed, but didn’t get the chance to show it that day. He did return to win the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes to round out a stellar year, but it wasn’t enough to win Horse of the Year honors, going instead to California Chrome.
With the drama of the Breeders’ Cup in his rearview, Shared Belief prepared for 2015, and his debut race of the year was perhaps the biggest win of his career. On February 7, 2015 Shared Belief squared off with California Chrome in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The race was being hyped as one of the best matchups in the last 20 years, and rightfully so! In the end neither California Chrome nor Shared Belief let us down. At the head of the stretch the race turned into a match race with both superstars just heads apart. Just as it looked we might be in for a photo finish, Shared Belief easily put away the 2014 Horse of the Year winner with a devastating move. It was crystal clear who the better horse was on this day.
The story kept getting better for Shared Belief one month later as he easily took home the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. Then in April things took a turn for the worse. Poised once again to compete for Horse of the Year honors, Shared Belief was having a stellar season, but injury struck again in the Charles Town Classic. Midway through the race he was pulled up and did not finish the race. The injury knocked him out for the rest of the year leaving us all to wonder what could have been as American Pharoah burst onto the scene and dominated the headlines. Could he have tangled with the Champ?
His tragic death due to colic last Thursday was a harsh reminder of how fragile these animals can be, and how we shouldn’t ever take them for granted. Shared Belief will always be a what if conversation. But the bottom line is he was one of the most talented horses in my lifetime. 10 wins from 12 starts, 8 graded stakes victories and 5 Grade 1 triumphs. That resume speaks for itself. Tragically his career was cut short, but I will always enjoy the memories he gave us. Rest in peace Shared Belief. We’ll see you on the other side.