Shared Belief completes final Breeders' Cup tuneup
ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Shared Belief, the morning-line favorite for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, polished off his final major training on Tuesday.
While most of the horses for the championships on Friday and Saturday are already at Santa Anita, Shared Belief was a considerable distance away at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley.
That's home base for Jerry Hollendorfer, his Hall of Fame trainer.
A 3-year-old with a 7-0 record, Shared Belief is the early 9-5 choice in the Classic. His final tuneup was a half-mile workout in 52.40 seconds with jockey Russell Baze aboard.
''After the work, Russell said it was awesome,'' Hollendorfer said. ''He said there was a lot left in the tank.''
Mike Smith will ride in the Classic.
Shared Belief already owns a win at Santa Anita, beating older runners most recently in the Awesome Again Stakes last month.
A FINE CROP: This crop of 3-year-olds could be one of the finest in recent memory.
Seven of the 14 runners in the Classic are 3-year-olds taking on older rivals. The contingent includes Shared Belief and the second and third choices, California Chrome at 4-1 and Tonalist at 5-1.
''I think they're pretty good,'' Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith said. ''Each and every one of them has come in here strong. If California Chrome fires his Kentucky Derby race, he's going to be tough.''
California Chrome has the highest profile, with victories in the Derby and the Preakness.
His bid for the Triple Crown was spoiled by Tonalist, who already owns a major victory over older runners in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
Bayern, at 6-1, could be the pacesetter. Speed is his game, a skill that carried him to wins in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park and the Pennsylvania Derby last month.
He will try to deliver the first Classic win for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who is 0 for 12 in North America's richest race.
Toast of New York at 12-1 makes his third straight U.S. start for British-based trainer Jamie Osborne. The globe-trotting colt won the UAE Derby in Dubai in March and most recently ran second to Shared Belief in the Pacific Classic.
This will be his first race on a dirt track.
Long-shot players can find a pair of 20-1 shots: V.E. Day, the largely overlooked winner of the Travers, and Candy Boy.
''These 3-year-olds, they just keep coming,'' Smith said.
ROAD WOES: Artemis Agrotera doesn't travel well.
Taking no chances, trainer Mike Hushion brought the 3-1 second choice in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint to California over the weekend instead of arriving on Monday or Tuesday.
Hushion is hoping to avoid a repeat of last year Breeders' Cup disappointment.
Artemis Agrotera was a similar price last time here at 7-2 in the Juvenile Fillies after a pair of impressive wins at Belmont Park and Saratoga. She had some mild traffic issues at the top of the stretch before finishing fifth.
''I can't have a whole lot of confidence because of last year,'' Hushion said. ''In my mind, she just didn't show up. It just wasn't her, after a lousy flight here.''
This time, the 3-year-old comes into the Breeders' Cup on a three-race winning streak fashioned again at Belmont and Saratoga. And she has a few more days to get acclimated.
''She made it all right,'' Hushion said. ''It takes a little out of all the horses. She gets a little disturbed by the shipping. We have to get her back on her feed. The racetrack here certainly hasn't bothered her in the mornings.''
Hushion's solution to the travel woes: Bring the Breeders' Cup back to Belmont.
''Maybe someday we'll get to play this game in New York,'' Hushion said.
Belmont last hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2005. The annual championships shift to Keeneland next year followed by a return to Santa Anita in 2016 and Del Mar in 2017.
That leaves 2018 as the first possible opening for a Breeders' Cup in New York.