Shared Belief Solidifies Breeders’ Cup Classic Favorite Role

Shared Belief is the early betting favorite for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

The undefeated Shared Belief was already the early betting favorite for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), and when new prices are released this week from Bovada, the price will likely shrink.

Bovada had the Pacific Classic (G1) winner listed at 3-1 last week, but with the retirement of Will Take Charge and Game On Dude, and the disappointing outing by California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby (G2), expect see a lower price.

Will Take Charge was last year’s Eclipse Award winner for top three-year-old and a finalist for Horse of the Year honors. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee missed winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic by a nose to Mucho Macho Man.

The colt was listed as the 9-1 fourth choice in Classic betting odds last week by Bovada. The colt was retired due to a mild strain to a branch of his suspensory. His last start was a third place finish in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga. He retired having won seven of 21 career starts with earnings of $3.9 million.

Game On Dude was the beaten favorite in the last two editions of the Classic and was listed at odds of 16-1 for this year’s running, but his connections decided to retire the gelding.

Game On Dude

Game On Dude (center) was retired last week and will miss the Breeders' Cup Classic.

The gelding ran fourth in the Pacific Classic (G1) in his last outing, his third loss in a row. He dueled for the early lead and weakened in the stretch, and his trainer Bob Baffert seems weary of seeing his runner get dueled into submission.

“He ran a great race in the Pacific Classic, but it’s gotten to the point where there is always going to be some horse who is going to be sacrificed by running with him and forcing him into ridiculous fractions, as was the case at Del Mar,” Baffert told Bloodhorse. “It’s starting to wear on him a little bit to the point where it’s not fun for him anymore. We always felt if he couldn’t compete at the grade I level and wasn’t enjoying what he was doing, it would be time to retire him.”

The gelding won eight Grade 1 races including the Santa Anita Handicap three times. He won 16 of 34 starts with career earnings of $6.49 million.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome returned off a three-month break in the Pennsylvania Derby on Saturday and weakened to finish sixth. The Baffert trained Bayern was able to set moderate early fractions and take the field gate to wire over a racing strip that was kind to speed.

California Chrome tracked the early pace down along the inside and seemed as if he was in good position turning for home but he just did not fire. His trainer Art Sherman and jockey Victor Espinoza seemed to think he had an excuse.

“The other riders, they worried about me, they didn’t worry about the one in the front, and I knew I was in trouble in the first turn,” Espinoza said. “They were like blocking in front of me, and it was hard to catch the other horse. Sometimes the other ones don’t ride to win, they ride to beat horses.”

“I wish he could have gotten him out — the pace was not that fast,” Sherman said. “You know you hate making excuses, but I thought if he could have gone after that horse a little bit earlier, and got out from behind, but the other horse kept him down on the rail which I really didn’t want. He is a lot more comfortable if you can ease him out — it didn’t happen. And he hasn’t run in a long time. He probably needed the race.”

His early betting odds for the Classic figure to drift up from last week’s 9-2 price.

Replay of 2014 Pennsylvania Derby

The Classic field will come into better focus after a couple of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races on Saturday, the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park and the $300,000 Awesome Again (G1) at Santa Anita.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup is expected to attract V. E. Day, Wicked Strong, and Tonalist, the top three finishers of the Travers (G1). Also probable are Whitney (G1) winner Moreno, Suburban Handicap (G2) victor Zivo, Big Cazanova, Last Gunfighter, Prayer for Relief and Stephanoatsee. Speak Logistics is possible.

The Awesome Again will be Shared Belief’s last prep for the Classic. The race will likely draw Imperative, Fed Biz and Majestic Harbor.

For the latest odds for the Breeders’ Cup check out


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