Making his first start since a seven-length debut win Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields, Shared Belief was even more impressive stepping into stakes company in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Purchased privately after his smashing initiation by a partnership that includes radio and television personality Jim Rome, Alex Solis II, Jason Litt, George Todaro and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Shared Belief dominated 9-10 favorite Kobe's Back and three other 2-year-olds under jockey Corey Nakatani.
Lapped directly outside pacesetter Papa Turf for most of the journey, the gelded son of Candy Ride and the Storm Cat mare Common Hope gained a slight advantage entering the stretch, then accelerated away under hand encouragement.
In defeating Kobe's Back, who was making his first appearance since an impressive debut win of his own in the Willard L. Proctor Memorial Stakes June 15, by a record 7 ¾ lengths, Shared Belief, who has earned $76,200, completed the seven furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:22.17. He paid $5, $2.40 and $2.10 as the 3-2 second choice.
The final time was the fastest in the Grade III Prevue since Jack O'Lantern won in 1:21.89 in 2008. The previous record margin of victory in the Prevue, which was run for the 32nd time Sunday, was six lengths by Lion Heart in 2003.
“I didn't think he would be close to the lead like that,'' said Hollendorfer, who also won the 1988 Prevue with King Glorious. “(Papa Turf) was the only speed in the race, but (Nakatani) got away well and decided to lap off him.
“It was a good decision on his part. I think he ran his last eighth of a mile in 11 (seconds) and change. We'll just enjoy this race and then pick something out.''
The main event for 2-year-olds at the final Autumn meet is the Grade I, $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity. Scheduled for 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track, the Futurity will be run Saturday, Dec. 14.
“That was an impressive 2-year-old right there,'' said Nakatani, who had won this race earlier with In Excessive Bull in 1996. “Being by Candy Ride he has the breeding to be any kind.
“He was very focused. When I worked him he did everything so easily, but I didn't ride him the first time and I didn't know he'd be so relaxed. When they do the things this horse did today, it's pretty exciting.''
The CashCall Futurity is definitely on the agenda for Kobe's Back, who finished 4 ¾ lengths in front of 24-1 shot Brother Soldier. Kobe's Back paid $2.20 and $2.10 while Brother Solider returned $2.80 to show.
“We're still looking at the Futurity with him,'' said John Sadler, who trains Kobe's Back for Lee and Susan Searing's C R K Stable. “He just doesn't have that much early speed. It wasn't going to matter today. The winner was the winner. My horse ran a good race, but I'll be licking my wounds for a couple of days.''
Racing will resume Monday. Post time for the special holiday program is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
In honor of Veterans Day, all veterans and active duty members – with military identification – will be given free general admission.
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