DEL MAR, CA – C R K Stable’s Honor A. P. is ready for his final tune-up for the Kentucky Derby (G1) when he enters the gate as the deserving favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
The Shared Belief is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition has a local post time of 2:30 PM Pacific and is the second event on an 11-race card that also includes the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1), a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Sprint.
For the first time, the Shared Belief is worth Kentucky Derby points that will be distributed to the top four finishers on a 50-20-10-5 basis. Though six are entered, the field is expected to scratch down to four.
Here is a look at the full field for the Shared Belief:
1. Uncle Chuck – One of three from trainer Bob Baffert, he is expected to scratch here in favor of shipping to Saratoga for the Travers Stakes (G1) on August 8.
2. Thousand Words – The second of three Baffert entries, he won back-to-back-to-back to start his career, including the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3) while going this same distance. His most recent 3 appearances left much to be desired, however, and he will need a career-best effort if he hopes to match wits with the favorite.
3. Anneau d’Or – Like Uncle Chuck, he is expected to scratch here. Trainer Blaine Wright recently confirmed that the plan is to enter the Ellis Park Derby on August 9 and remain in Kentucky to train toward the Kentucky Derby.
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4. Kiss Today Goodbye – It took him 5 starts to break his maiden, hitting the wire first in a dirt mile at Santa Anita Park on Febryary 22. His only start since saw him finish last of 10 against older optional claiming horses on May 17, but jockey Umberto Rispoli currently leads all jockeys in wins at the Del Mar meet and fires at 32% when riding for trainer Eric Kruljac.
5. Honor A. P. – The overwhelming favorite broke his maiden impressively in his first time routing, then finished second in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) before dominating the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last time out. This will be his first time facing a field shorter than 7 runners, but his maiden-breaking effort came gate to wire, so he has tactical speed.
6. Cezanne – The third Baffert runner is also the highest-priced, thanks to the legendary owner/breeder group Coolmore dropping $3.65 million when he was a yearling. Though he has won both career starts (a Santa Anita Park sprint on June 6 and a Los Alamitos 1-mile route on July 2), he has yet to flash anything remotely resembling his eye-popping sales price.