INGLEWOOD, Calif. (December 14, 2013)—After winning his first two starts around one turn by a combined 14 ¾ lengths, Shared Belief was again dominant as he stretched out and stepped into Grade I company for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the $751,500 CashCall Futurity (video) Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The 33rd Futurity was the most prestigious and lucrative of three graded races offered on the next-to-last Saturday of the final Autumn meet.
Earlier in the day, Lucayan rallied from last to win the Grade II, $250,250 Hollywood Turf Cup and the Hollendorfer-trained Blueskiesnrainbows led throughout to take the Grade III, $150,500 Native Diver Stakes.
Ridden with confidence by jockey Corey Nakatani, Shared Belief, a gelded son of Candy Ride and the Storm Cat mare Common Hope, definitely stamped himself a 3-year-old to watch in 2014 the way he concluded his 2-year-old season.
After tracking the early pace set by 131-1 shot Brother Soldier, Nakatani was content to wait when 26-1 shot – and eventual runner-up – Candy Boy made a bold move outside to gain the lead entering the far turn.
When he asked Shared Belief turning into the stretch, Nakatani got the same kind of acceleration the Kentucky-bred had shown when winning the Grade III Hollywood Prevue by 7 ¾ lengths in his Southern California debut – and first start for Hollendorfer – Nov. 10.
At the finish, Shared Belief, who is owned by a partnership that includes his trainer, television and radio personality Jim Rome’ Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, Jason Litt, Alex Solis II and George Todaro, had 5 ¾ lengths on Candy Boy.
Seven horses who have finished either first or second – Alysheba (1986), A.P. Indy (1991), Thunder Gulch (1994), Real Quiet (1997), Point Given (2000), Giacomo (2004) and Lookin At Lucky (2009) – in the Futurity have gone on to win at least one Triple Crown race, so it will be interesting to see what lies ahead for Shared Belief.
Privately purchased by his current connections after winning by seven lengths against maidens Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields, Shared Belief completed the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track in 1:42.16. The clocking was the fastest in the CashCall Futurity since Pioneerof the Nile went 1:41.95 in 2008.
Bred by Pam and Marty Wygod, Shared Belief increased his earnings to $451,200. He returned $4, $3.60 and $2.80 as the even-money favorite.
“Wow!’’ said Nakatani, who also won the 2010 CashCall with Comma to the Top. “My horse has a pretty high crusing speed and when (Candy Boy) made that early move, I couldn’t go at that time.
“I’m just very thankful to Jerry Hollendorfer and his team, (assistant trainer) Dan Ward, and, obviously, (Solis II) for finding this horse and buying him. He did all the work and I was just a quiet passenger on him. Wow!’’
Rome was also ecstatic.
“I said after Mizdirection won her first Breeders’ Cup (Turf Sprint), no matter what happened after that, I was fine,’’ he said. “The second one was amazing and today was obviously a really incredible day.’’
Three weeks removed from an easy win against maidens at the CashCall distance, Candy Boy finished 1 ¼ lengths ahead of 8-1 shot Tamarando, the Grade I Del Mar Futurity winner also trained by Hollendorfer. Candy Boy paid $15 and $8.40. The show price on Tamarando was $3.20.
There was a stewards’ inquiry into the Futurity due to an incident on the backstretch where Kobe’s Back, who wound up 10th, stumbled after clipping heels. There was no change in the order of finish as the stewards ruled the gray son of Flatter caused his own trouble.
Bond Holder, fourth in last month’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, was fourth again Saturday and he was followed by Electric Eddie, Brother Soldier, Sheikinator, Rankhasprivileges, Even Echo, Kobe’s Back, Tap It Rich, the 5-2 second choice, and Karma King, who was eased in the stretch.
A Group I winner in his native France as a 3-year-old, Lucayan earned his first victory in North America in the Hollywood Turf Cup.
Ridden for the first time by jockey Joel Rosario, the 4-year-old son of Turtle Bowl and the Grand Lodge mare La Vltava was able to run down 7-5 favorite Temeraine by a half-length despite extremely slow fractions.
Bouncing back from a poor effort – ninth of 10 – over a yielding turf course in the Grade I Canadian International Oct. 27 at Woodbine, Lucayan closed into 25.67, 50.14, 1:14.21, 1:38.49 and 2:02.13 splits for his fourth win in his 15th start.
Owned by Pandora Stud LLC, Lucayan, who completed the 1 ½ miles in 2:26.14, gave trainer Neil Drysdale his first Turf Cup victory.
Drysdale has 83 stakes wins at Hollywood Park, leaving him seventh on the all-time list behind fellow Hall of Famers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, Richard Mandella, Ron McAnally, Bobby Frankel and Charlie Whittingham, the runaway leader with 222.
Prior to Saturday, Lucayan had lost nine in a row – three in Europe before coming to this continent – since his 27-1 surprise in the French 2000 Guineas May 13, 2012 at Longchamp.
The 17-10 second choice in the field of six, Lucayan paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.40. He’s earned $659,858.
“The key to this guy is getting him to relax and (Rosario) did a lovely job of relaxing him,’’ said Drysdale. “He’s had an unlucky year. He tried to come up the middle and got stopped (in the Grade II Del Mar Handicap Aug. 24) and he also got stuck in the (Grade II) John Henry (Turf Championship Sept. 29 at Santa Anita), then it was just a bog at Woodbine and he couldn’t handle it.’’
Fifth in the Canadian International where he was 7 ½ lengths in front of Lucayan, Temeraine was a no-excuse runner-up Saturday.
The 4-year-old Arch gelding tracked outside pacesetter Segway most of the journey, then couldn’t contain the winner under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who won his only Turf Cup in 2004 with Pellegrino. Temeraine returned $2.80 and $2.20 while finishing 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Segway, who paid $2.60 to show.
Completing the order of finish were Irish Surf, Artic North and Huntsville.
The Native Diver was certainly all about the Hollendorfer barn.
Not only did the trainer win the Native Diver for a second time – the previous came with Heatseeker (2007) – he also finished 2-3 as favored Hear the Ghost and Rousing Sermon completed the trifecta behind Blueskiesnrainbows.
Cutting back in distance after finishing second behind London Bridge in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon Nov. 1, Blueskiesnrainbows was hustled out of the gate by jockey Martin Pedroza from his inside post, relaxed on the lead and held his stablemates and four others safe through the stretch.
Owned by Bad Boy Racing LLC and Whizway Farms, the 4-year-old English Channel colt out of the Deputy Minister mare Cho Cho San won for the sixth time in 22 starts and pushed his bankroll to $549,552.
Bred in Virginia by Edward Evans, Blueskiesnrainbows, who paid $8.40, $3.80 and $3 as the 3-1 second choice, ran the 1 1/8 miles over Cushion Track in 1:50.07.
Saturday’s half-length win was the third in five starts over the Betfair Hollywood Park main track and his second graded success. Blueskiesnrainbows won the Grade II Swaps July 4, 2012 when still in the barn of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.
Making his second start after a layoff of some eight months after capturing the Grade II San Felipe Stakes March 9 at Santa Anita, Hear the Ghost, the 5-2 favorite, finished a half-length in front of 4-1 third choice Rousing Sermon, a California-bred who was runner-up behind Liaison in the 2011 CashCall Futurity.
No worse than second in his five races, Hear the Ghost paid $4.20 and $3. Rousing Sermon returned $3.20 to show.
“When I was thinking about this race and discussing it, we thought Blueskiesnrainbows was on the lead in the lane, he’d be hard to get by,’’ said Hollendorfer. “He’s been running better and better. If he keeps it up, he looks like a good prospect for the coming year.
“I’ve run 1-2-3 in the El Camino Real (Derby in Northern California), but you don’t expect to do ever do it in Southern California. I’m a very fortunate guy.’’
Drill, Soi Phet, Mobilized and Setsuko completed the order of finish. Fire With Fire and Slim Shadey scratched.
Racing resumes Sunday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
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