October 22, 2014

We’re now just days away from the Breeders’ Cup, and days from a possible coronation for CANDY RIDE (ARG)’s outstanding 3-year-old gelding Shared Belief. Still unbeaten, last year’s Champion Juvenile Male is the favorite for the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, and a win at Santa Anita would lock down some serious hardware.

“The Horse of the Year case for Shared Belief …would be airtight if [he] could add a Classic win to [his] shiny record,” wrote the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Crist. “A Classic victory would keep Shared Belief undefeated and would be his third straight Grade 1 triumph over older horses, following his Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes scores.”

A Classic win, which would also secure an Eclipse as Champion 3-Year-Old Male, would be historic in many ways. The Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Shared Belief would become the second undefeated winner of the Classic, following the great Zenyatta. He would be the first juvenile champion to ever win the Classic. He’d become the fifth horse in history to earn an Eclipse at both two and three, and just the fourth to win an Eclipse at two and be named Horse of the Year at three. The others?  Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and Spectacular Bid.

Already, Shared Belief has put together an outstanding season. Sidelined with foot issues in early in the year, he returned with a six-furlong allowance tightener at Golden Gate in May. He aired by 4 1/4 lengths in the G2 Los Alamitos Derby in July, then, in an overwhelming performance, romped in the G1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August.

In an effort he called a “115 Beyer tour de force,” the DRF’s Dan Illman wrote after the race, “One has to fantasize about what would have happened if Shared Belief didn’t miss the Triple Crown series due to a foot bruise and a quarter crack.”

The 115 Beyer Shared Belief earned is easily best in the nation for a 3-year-old. In fact, only a single performance–Game On Dude’s Santa Anita H.–ranks better from a Beyer perspective, and no older horse other than Game On Dude has run better than a 114 this year.

Bet down to 1-5 favoritism in the G1 Awesome Again, Shared Belief overcame a brutal trip to beat the Grade 1 winner Fed Biz by a measured neck. It was the first time Shared Belief didn’t win by at least 2 3/4 lengths, but the effort earned him massive respect.

Said the DRF’s Jay Privman, “The suburb where Santa Anita is located is a tony, genteel town, not known for crime. But there was an attempted mugging on Saturday. The intended victim, though, was able to fend off his attackers. Shared Belief had to overcome the apparent tag-team tactics of a pair of Bob Baffert-trained runners. He was carried wide on both turns of the 1 1/8-mile race by Baffert’s rank longshot, Sky Kingdom, but still rallied bravely through the lane to catch Baffert’s other and better horse, Fed Biz, to prevail to remain unbeaten after seven starts.

Shared Belief is currently the only horse from his crop to defeat older horses in Grade 1 company twice.

If you’re looking for a reason for Shared Belief’s brilliance, look no further than the genes imparted to him by his equally brilliant sire. Like Shared Belief, CANDY RIDE (ARG) won the Pacific Classic, earning a 123 Beyer that wouldn’t be surpassed in 2003.

Interestingly, offspring of CANDY RIDE (ARG) have dominated the big races at Santa Anita, host site of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup. TWIRLING CANDY set a track record in the G1 Malibu S. Misremembered won the G1 Santa Anita H. Sidney’s Candy won the G1 Santa Anita Derby. Evita Argentina captured the G1 La Brea S., while Home Sweet Aspen earned her biggest prize in the G1 Santa Monica S. That’s six Grade 1 winners over a single track.

Making breeding plans for the 2015 and searching for champion bloodlines? You just found them…in CANDY RIDE (ARG).

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