Less than a week after Jim Rome's Jungle Racing parted with two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT) winner Mizdirection, the sports radio and television personality resurfaced with another talented runner in Shared Belief.
With Corey Nakatani aboard in the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) Nov. 10 at Betfair Hollywood Park, the 2-year-old son of Candy Ride battled on the lead before leaving 9-10 favorite Kobe's Back in his wake. Shared Belief sped to a 7 3/4-length win in the seven-furlong Cushion Track test, a major steppingstone to the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) in December. The time was 1:22.17.
Shared Belief was purchased privately by Rome's group in partnership with trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and others from owners/breeders Pam and Marty Wygod. The sale was made shortly after the dark bay gelding debuted with a seven-length dusting of maidens Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields.
Rome sold Mizdirection for $2.7 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale Nov. 4, just two days after the lifetime earner of more than $1.7 million completed consecutive victories in the GEICO Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint by half a length over Reneesgotzipand Tightend Touchdown. It appears he's back in business with this good-looking youngster.
Hollendorfer was pleased with the victory, noting that Shared Belief had put in a couple of strong works at Hollywood Park since transferring from trainer Jedd Josephson at Golden Gate. As for the CashCall, the Hall of Fame conditioner said: "We'll just enjoy this race and then pick something out."
Others involved in the Shared Belief ownership group are longtime Hollendorfer associate George Todaro, Joshua Litt, and Alex Solis II.
Most of the attention in the Hollywood Prevue was centered on C R K Stable's Kobe's Back, who debuted with an impressive stakes win in the Willard Proctor Memorial June 15 at Hollywood Park. Kobe's Back was left 10 lengths back at the start of the 5 1/2-furlong Proctor but swept to victory impressively by 3 1/4 lengths. He had not been out since, however, as trainer John Sadler worked on the Flatter colt's maturation issues.
Sent off the heavy choice, Kobe's Back trailed the field once again for a half-mile but was no more than four lengths off the pace, which was set by Papa Turf with 3-2 shot Shared Belief in close attendance. The opening quarter-mile was run in a brisk :22.56 before slowing a bit to :46.06 for the half.
"I didn't think he'd be close to the lead like that," Hollendorfer said. "(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."
Shared Belief was just a head away from Papa Turf as they vied around the turn, with Kobe's Back making up ground while rounding the bend four-wide. Shared Belief took the lead with a slight tap of the whip from Nakatani entering the stretch and soon disposed of Papa Turf.
Kobe's Back, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, loomed as the danger in upper stretch but Shared Belief spurted clear. He opened up by three lengths in mid-stretch and continued to widen the advantage under a vigorous hand ride. Shared Belief ran the last eighth of a mile in :11.76.
"That was an impressive 2-year-old right there," an enthused Nakatani said. "Being by Candy Ride, he's got 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."
Kobe's Back, after another slow beginning, ran like one who should appreciate going two turns in the CashCall Futurity at 1 1/16 miles Dec. 14.
"He broke OK, but he's just not that quick," Bejarano said. "I was in a good position right behind the winner at the three-eighths. My horse ran his race, but I was never going to beat the winner."
"(Kobe's Back) just doesn't have that much early speed," Sadler said. "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. We're still looking at the Futurity with him."
Shared Belief, out of the winning Storm Cat mare Common Hope, earned $60,000 as he improved his record to 2-for-2. He paid $5, $2.40, and $2.10 across the board while carrying 118 pounds, four fewer than Kobe's Back, who returned $2.20 and $2.10. The exacta was worth $8.60. Brother Soldier paid $2.80 to show.