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
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.
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.