Shared Belief wins 2014 Malibu at Santa Anita Park


Shared Belief battles Conquest Two Step and Chitu as they near the wire.


Mike Smith and Shared Belief head to the winner’s circle after the Malibu.

Shared Belief — the 2013 Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male champion whose unbeaten streak was broken in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last month — narrowly collected his fifth win of the year in The Malibu at Santa Anita Park Friday.

Shared Belief, who went off at 1-2 odds, beat longshot Conquest Two Step by a neck, with the second-choice, Chitu, finishing third in a closely fought race.

“The horse just won a Grade 1 cutting way back and did it with a lot of grit and a lot of moxie,” Shared Belief’s co-owner, sports radio talk show host Jim Rome, said in the winners’ circle after the gelding’s win in 1:20.69 in the seven-furlong race on the dirt.

He noted that it was a “tough day” when Shared Belief suffered his only defeat Nov. 1 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

“We’ve had a lot of good days and a lot of good luck. That was a bad day with a lot of bad luck. That’s racing. That’s what happens … But I never doubted the horse,” he said of the 3-year-old son of Candy Ride.

Rome said he did not feel Shared Belief had to redeem himself after his fourth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, calling Shared Belief “amazing” and maintaining that he wouldn’t trade him for any other horse in training.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Shared Belief’s connections put the Breeders’ Cup “behind us” to concentrate on winning the Malibu.

“You know, there’s nothing we can do about what happened and so we forget about it and just remember that he’s a good horse and (he) came back and won so I feel like he really justified himself today,” Hollendorfer said.

The trainer noted that Shared Belief was between horses during the Malibu, but that he “never had any doubts that he would get out and come running down the lane.”

“Once the horses have been getting on the outside today, they’ve been running very well,” Hollendorfer said.

Jockey Mike Smith was in the irons on Shared Belief for the fifth time in a row. Shared Belief’s other victories this year included the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar and the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita, along with the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Derby and an allowance win at Golden Gate Fields.

As for whether Shared Belief’s latest Grade 1 win should help to propel him to another Eclipse Award, Hollendorfer and Rome were both circumspect.

“I don’t vote on Horse of the Year, but, you know, all the other folks can take a look and see what they think,” Hollendorfer said.

Rome added, “In terms of is he the Horse of the Year? That’s on the voters. I’ve been with Jerry Hollendorfer long enough now that I know what to say. We’re going to leave that up to the voters. But I am proud of the horse. He had a huge year. If it’s good enough, great! And, if not, I love the horse dearly and we’ll be back to battle.”

It was not immediately clear what will be next for the Northern California-based Shared Belief. Hollendorfer said that they are looking at “a couple of things.”

“If he stays healthy and happy, he’s going to have another big year,” Rome said.

Horse Bits:

Hollendorfer won both Grade 1 races of the day at Santa Anita. The 3-year-old filly, Sam’s Sister, wore down the heavy favorite Taris in the lane in The La Brea, covering the seven furlongs in 1:22.52. Thank You Marylou finished third for the third straight time after runs in the Raven Run at Keeneland in October and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November. “I’m very happy to win two Grade 1’s in one day, and that doesn’t happen but a very few times in a trainer’s lifetime so I’m very grateful,” Hollendorfer told the media.

Rome said it felt like a Breeders’ Cup-type day, for which a crowd of nearly 41,000 was on hand for the track’s season opener. He said he sensed a “great energy” and a “great vibe.” “If our horse was part of that, I couldn’t be more proud,” Rome said, noting that he is “absolutely blown away” that people know, like and respect Shared Belief.