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Blog - RACING

Shared Belief dominates the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby on July 5. (Benoit Photo)

About two months ago racing had a rather nifty trivia question.

Who was the 2-year-old champion male of 2013?

Considering all of the mania generated by California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid, it was understandable how that question could stump the average fan.

But after last Saturday, the answer is now on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

Shared Belief reminded everyone of why he received an Eclipse Award for his 2013 heroics as he scorched the track while winning the $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby by 4 ¼ lengths.

The victory increased his career record to a perfect 7-for-7 and suddenly the reigning champ is back in the picture for another post-season award.

Interesting turn of events, eh?

For most of this year, Shared Belief had the look of many 2-year-old champs of recent years. Sidelined by an injured hoof, he did not make his 3-year-old debut until May 26. That made him the ninth 2-year-old champ in 14 years to miss all three legs of the Triple Crown.

SHARED BELIEF WINS THE 2013 HOLLYWOOD PREVUE

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Benoit Photo

Yet unlike the others, who were unable to make up for lost time, Shared Belief has re-entered the championship picture and could become just the second 2-year-old champ since 1979 to earn the top prize at three—depending on what happens in the coming months.

As impressive as Shared Belief looked at Los Alamitos in his first start on dirt, that race alone will not crown a champion. Aside from runner-up Candy Boy the field lacked a formidable rival.

What figures to make Shared Belief such an intriguing presence as the year rolls on is where he’s expected to turn up next. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has targeted the Pacific Classic at Del Mar as Shared Belief’s next race. If the undefeated gelding can handle older rivals with the same ease that has been woven into his wins over 3-year-olds, California Chrome will definitely have a race on his hands when Eclipse Award ballots are distributed.

Given the general sense of disappointment felt in the aftermath of California Chrome’s loss in the Belmont Stakes, the horse that used to be at the head of the class has resurrected interest in the 3-year-old division. And now, in advance of races like the Haskell, Travers, and, yes, the Pacific Classic, there’s extra star power in the sophomore class to make the summer and fall even more enjoyable and exciting.

All in all, that’s not bad for a horse that not so long ago used to be the answer to a trivia question.

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

Image Description

Bob Ehalt

Bob Ehalt has been an avid fan of Thoroughbred racing since that day in June of 1971 when he and his father walked from their Queens Village, N.Y., home to Belmont Park to see Canonero II fall short in his bid for the Triple Crown. A veteran sports writer and correspondent for Thoroughbred Times magazine, Bob has covered horse racing for more than 20 years and has won three awards in the Associated Press Sports Editors national writing contest for his coverage of the sport.

Now working at the New Haven Register in Connecticut, Bob has also owned Thoroughbreds since 1995 and was a member of the syndicate that raced Tale of the Cat. He also writes a racing blog for ESPNNewYork.com and is the co-founder of the New York Hot List handicapping service, which is offered at InterBets.com.

His NTRA.com blog received first-place honors in the 2008-09 Breeders' Cup Media Awards, winning in the initial year of competition in the Social Media category.  You can follow him on Twitter at @BobEhalt

 

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