Shared Belief's Hidden Key to Greatness

Is Shared Belief on the threshold of greatness? From a visual standpoint, he is an anomaly. From the side, his action appears smooth, powerful, and flawless. From the front, he paddles his left front and has done it in all his races, but it has had absolutely no effect on his performance.

If Shared Belief indeed is headed for greatness, is there a key aspect to his pedigree that is taking him there?

His sire, Candy Ride certainly had greatness in him, but he did not stick around long enough to solidify it. Candy Ride traces to Fappiano through Cryptoclearance, but there are so many top-class horses who trace to Fappiano on the sire’s side, there is nothing unique about that.

On the female side, his dam, Common Hope, had a maiden win and a second in five career starts, so there is nothing to suggest greatness there. Common Hope is by Storm Cat, but then again so are hundreds of other successful dams.

Shared Belief’s pedigree is rare considering he is a complete outcross through five generations, with inbreeding to Nasrullah on the dam’s side in his sixth generation. So, his family traits spread far and wide.

So, what exactly in Shared Belief’s pedigree brings out that uniqueness that one looks for that separates a horse from the others.

The answer could very well be his maternal great-grandsire Grenfall, a horse unfamiliar to the vast majority of Americans.

Let’s go back to the spring of 1969. At Darby Dan Farm, there was great excitement in the air following the birth of Graustark’s full-bother (Ribot – Flower Bowl). Graustark was considered by those close to him, including jockey Braulio Baeza, as a freak who was destined for greatness, combining blistering speed, a powerful engine, and a Herculean physique. Unfortunately, he broke down in the slop in the Blue Grass Stakes and never raced again, but did become a major influence on the breed, passing on his speed, class, and stamina.

Now, Darby Dan had Graustark’s handsome full-brother, who would be the last foal out of Flower Bowl, who died giving birth to the colt. Farm manager Olin Gentry put the fiery colt, later to be named His Majesty, in a separate paddock, along with a companion – a placid son of Hail to Reason – Polylady, later to be named Good Counsel. The two were inseparable and were often seen up on their hind legs wrestling or just nuzzling together in their paddock. In a scenario right out of a movie, both colts would eventually meet in the Widener Handicap, with the less-fancied Good Counsel nosing out his illustrious boyhood pal.

Gentry had another yearling in that crop he felt was special and also kept him in a separate paddock, along with a flashy bay colt by Sea-Bird. The reason Gentry felt he was special was his regal pedigree and good looks. The chestnut colt was by Graustark, out of Darby Dan’s champion filly Primonetta, one of the most brilliant fillies of her era and a full-sister to their Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Chateaugay. The daughter of Swaps began her career with nine consecutive victories, including the Delaware Oaks and three other stakes. After suffering her first defeat, a neck loss in the Monmouth Oaks, she romped by five lengths in the Alabama Stakes, winning wire-to-wire and defeating Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks winner Bowl of Flowers, a half-sister to Graustark. Primonetta went on to win the Spinster the following year and retired with 17 victories in 25 starts.

Priminetta’s chestnut colt by Graustark was the mare’s second foal, and Gentry handled him with kid gloves as well. Named Grenfall, he was sent to Vincent O’Brien in Ireland, where he won the 1 1/4-mile Gallinule Stakes, Ireland’s major prep for the Irish Derby, as well as the Vauxhall Trial Stakes and Whitehall Stakes. But unfortunately, he didn’t stay sound long enough to make a name for himself and was brought back to the States, where he eventually was sold and became a prominent stallion in California and the Northwest, siring the brilliantly fast multiple stakes-winning filly Grenzen, who produced the $2.1 million earner and grade I winner Twilight Agenda. Grenfall also sired the dam of Tribal Rule, who became the leading sire in California, siring 36 stakes winners, including grade I and other graded stakes winners, and amassing $21.3 million in earnings.

Tribal Rule’s dam, Sown, also produced Common Hope, the dam of Shared Belief. Sown’s dam, Bad Seed, produced the successful sire Pirate’s Bounty, broodmare sire of Belmont Stakes winner Da’ Tara.

After Grenfall, Primonetta would go on to produce the Graustark filly Maud Muller, winner of the Gazelle Handicap in a stakes record 1:46 4/5 and Ashland Stakes, and placed in the Coaching Club American Oaks, Mother Goose, and Test Stakes; the Hail to Reason colt Prince Thou Art, winner of the Florida Derby, defeating Foolish Pleasure, and placed in the Travers, Blue Grass Stakes, and Flamingo Stakes; and the Hail to Reason filly Cum Laude Laurie, winner of the grade I Delaware Oaks, Ruffian Handicap, Beldame, and Spinster, and placed in the Alabama Stakes and Mother Goose Stakes.

Grenfall could have been any kind, and looked like many of the Graustarks, with that handsome, chiseled head, and had that look of Swaps stamped on him as well.

Where his name shows up, so does class and brilliance. And here he is as the maternal great-grandsire of Shared Belief. Who knows, he just could be the key to the colt’s class and brilliance.

Grenfall was the personification of what Darby Dan Farm has stood for over the past six decades. For owner John Galbreath, who also owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was all about the classics and classic horses, many of whom were injected with the speed of Graustark and Swaps (who stood at Darby Dan for years) and Primonetta.

Also going unnoticed by many was the Darby Dan blood that coursed through the veins of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, whose second dam was by the Darby Dan-bred Preakness and Belmont winner Little Current, and whose third dam, Cherished Moment, was a Darby Dan-bred daughter of Graustark. Both Little Current and Cherished Moment were yearlings at Darby Dan in 1972.

So, once again, where does Shared Belief’s class and brilliance come from? Yes, it could be Candy Ride and it could be Storm Cat, but if you look beyond the obvious, there is an excellent chance it comes from Grenfall and his classy and brilliant sire and dam. Not only is Shared Belief a complete outcross through his first five generations, Grenfall is inbred to the legendary stallion Hyperion, as is Shared Belief’s great granddam Bad Seed, so there are four shots of Hyperion in Shared Belief’s sixth and seventh generations.

Thanks to the remarkable accomplishments of Shared Belief, that handsome, regally bred yearling pictured below finally has made a profound impact on the breed on a national level, just as he was intended to do back in 1969. Through Grenfall, Shared Belief truly is  an extension of the Darby Dan legacy.

Grenfall as a yearling has that sleek, chiseled Graustark look.

Grenfall welcomed the attention, but His Majesty (standing by his fence in background) wanted all the attention focused on him.

A portrait of Grenfall.

Primonetta with her future Florida Derby winner Prince Thou Art.

Primonetta dashes across the field with a baby Maud Muller, eventual winner of the Gazelle Handicap in stakes record time.


Leave a Comment:

Tiz Herself

Awesome as always Steve!

cannot wait to see more from Shared Belief. I read that he could face California Chrome in the Pennsylvania Derby - am already stoked at the possibility!

26 Aug 2014 8:29 PM

good info. had SB in the KYD future, think he would have won.

26 Aug 2014 8:39 PM

During the euphoria associated with California Chrome leading up to and during the Triple Crown series, I constantly reminded his supporters that there were at least two colts (Constitution/ Shared Belief) whose résumés reflected that they were potentially better than the eventual Derby and Preakness winner. Many were not receptive to the constant reminder, as  out of site meant out of mind. Many were of the opinion that I disliked CC, refused to recognize his accomplishments and failed to acknowledge that he was something special.

It is my policy to provided opposing views. Many contributors caught in the repeated cross fire found themselves unable to appreciate certain views for the objective perspective they provided.

It was my view that California Chrome is a very talented colt. However, if he became the eventual Derby/Preakness winner building on an extremely modest first 6 races, the likes of Constitution and Shared Belief would have denied him those victories if not for the injuries they sustained.

The 2YO Champion has return to continue his undefeated run in a mean mode. The claims that CC was a special horse will now have to be reviewed. A comparison of his first 6 starts to those of Shared Belief provides  significant insight into potential greatness.

There have been many great horses that had less than stellar start to their careers but they were never labeled great prematurely.

26 Aug 2014 9:08 PM

The flaw of a foot is a step forward of courage of heart and instinct that shows no-fear as it leaves most astounded by its ability and will  to compete and succeed.  Your paragraph I Steve, is the perfect introduction for those who lack in "belief" and trust and know not the passion and pursuit of greatness - it corrects wrongs and defines champions......His Majesty, Fappiano, Cryptoclearance, Graustark. Primonetta, Braulio Baeza and the Darby Dan Farms - that have formed and nurtured racing throughout bringing us the thrills of lifetimes and recollections unsurpassed leaving us with chills and incomparable emotions that will always encourage us to maintain racing at its best and to never give up that hope - Shared Belief is a reflection of all of this and you are the mirror image of that same belief!

26 Aug 2014 9:26 PM
Bill Rinker

Great article Steve, and great pedigree analysis, I love this gelding and can't wait to see how the rest of this year unfolds for him. I like your thoughts on Grenfall's contribution through Primonetta via Swaps-x-Banquet Bell as well as Terlinga via Secretariat-x-Crimson Saint, really nice pedigree.

26 Aug 2014 9:33 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

I'm a Believer and I'm not monkeying around. Shared Belief looks to have really matured and he wasn't too shabby prior to the Pacific Classic but that was a powerhouse performance. Looking like the probable favorite for the BC Classic. It would be the ideal year for Game On Dude to win it if he even runs. He'll be huge odds and I can't see him winning it and am wondering if he should be retired. Nobody this entire year has been as impressive as Shared Belief was in the Pacific Classic. I can't wait to see Steve's writeup on this year's BC Classic. I just think it's going to be a monster race won in a very good time. I still think Will Take Charge has a shot but there are still a few big preps left to help us figure out if anyone will have a good chance against Shared Belief who has to be the top rated horse in the country, maybe the world. Does anyone else share that belief? I wasn't a fan of his in his early races to be a ten furlong champion because I thought his stride was too quick but now I think he's capable of anything. Pure monster. I also like Wicked Strong, he should be one of the favorites.

26 Aug 2014 10:15 PM

Cold Facts, thankfully Shared Belief is doing fine now and that's important. What can we do in horse racing except to be grateful that the horses are ok and can race another day. Speaking of a talented horse who could not make it to all three Triple Crown races, no one would be more disappointed than the owner and breeder of AP Indy. Can you even imagine the heartbreak of having a horse so closely related to Secretariat and Seattle Slew not be able to race in the first two Classic races due to quarter cracks?

Jim Rome said it best about the possible rivalry between Shared Belief and California Chrome. Nothing is proven via the written word, but is proven on the race track.

26 Aug 2014 10:33 PM
Paula Higgins

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and Shared Belief certainly has the potential to dominate. As you showed Steve, Shared Belief's pedigree is pretty special. But it remains to be seen if he is truly great and we will only know that if they keep him in racing past 3 years and he stays sound. If he shows up in the PA Derby and beats California Chrome and then wins the BCC, then it is the start of that conversation. California Chrome already has had a very distinguished year. How his year ends up also remains to be seen. Wicked Strong and VE Day also seem to want to have something to say about it. My heart is with California Chrome and Wise Dan this year. Two horses who have showed up and given it their all. It may be that CC has peaked and now it is Shared Belief's time to shine. It is going to be a thrilling part of the racing year with all this talent racing against each other.

26 Aug 2014 10:49 PM
Lexington Bloodstock

These type of articles are worth their weight in gold, if such a thing is possible.  True racing fans delight in this detail, and, historical photographs.  The more the merrier.

26 Aug 2014 11:00 PM

As you might imagine, I loved this piece-most particularly the photos. Yes, Grenfall, as a yearling, had that very special Graustark "look". Not all of them had it-some were more of the *Ribot-type (which while different, was also a very pleasing look), but the ones with that Graustark look I flocked to. I didn't associate the word "chiseled" with it, rather for me I likened it to the look of a deer-but, whatever term one associates with it, this look was a very positive one, and quite unique-just as Graustark himself was quite unique-and to this day I can't negate the idea that he may have been the most gifted racehorse that ever lived...It was fortuitous that both Graustark and lovely Primonetta shared the same ownership, lived within the period, and were mated to each other (which should dispel the notion by some that Graustark was sired by Swaps, rather than Ribot). I knew both Graustark and Primonetta well, and always considered her among the most ideal mates for Graustark-both in conformation and pedigree. Primonetta shared much of Graustark's "look", she was superbly bred, and was an ultra-talented runner. So, Grenfall, their son, was arguably one of the best bred horses, ever. Grenfall's record as a sire was only mediocre, but like many others it's difficult to know if this was very much due to limited opportunity, both in terms of quality mates and numbers. His daughter, Sown, has proven to be an exceptional producer, and Shared Belief's dam's full-brother, Tribal Rule, displayed brilliant talent as a racehorse, albeit compromised by early injury. I could easily make the argument that Shared Belief is the best bred of all previous Candy Ride runners. Shared Belief, himself, appears to be a very rare talent. This horse is, for me, the most exciting American racehorse since his sire, Candy Ride. What a shame that he's a gelding. I hope that he continues on without blemishing his stature, but I fear that he will be asked to do too much, too soon. He is a pure talent, and likely the best racehorse in the U.S. In closing, Steve; why hasn't any scribe (to my knowledge) interviewed Wygod re-his reasons for selling Shared Belief?  

26 Aug 2014 11:31 PM

Myself, I think he gets his brilliance from Darcy's Yellow Turk.

27 Aug 2014 12:20 AM

Great blog Steve.  Amazing photos.  Grenfall is a name I haven't heard for a while. Some older mares from Shared Belief's female family are still in California.  Does the Grenfall magic emerge again, ever?

27 Aug 2014 12:38 AM
Lost In The Fog

Steve, thanks for a pedigree analysis that helps to put things into perspective.  Any objective analysis of Shared Belief's six races to date leads to the obvious conclusion that this gelding has the "potential" to achieve greatness.  He's been flawless so far and his two G1 victories (Hollywood Futurity and Pacific Classic) were simply spectacular.  If Hollendorfer can keep SB healthy and happy then the sky is the limit!    

27 Aug 2014 1:08 AM

Great article and nice horse in Shared Belief. He has been fun to watch, however, he still hasn't run against a true powerhouse line up. Yes he finally got into a big race in the Pacific Classic, but who did he beat? Taking out a seven year old Game On Dude who is obviously past his prime was not a big deal. I love watching this Gelding run, but I am ready to see him against the likes of Wicked Strong, California Chrome, Palace Malice, Etc....As for his overall pedigree I am not overly impressed there either compared to the other top horses that also include the likes of A.P. Indy. Included in those is even California Chrome. In the end I am very impressed with Shared Belief, but still want to see his connections get him in stronger company.

27 Aug 2014 5:40 AM

Thanks, Steve.  I love the history of racing, and hearing about the backgrounds of our current runners. I had no idea Shared Belief's is so colorful.  I could read blogs such as this, all day long---

27 Aug 2014 6:50 AM
Kathy Weightman

Great article, Steve.  Being from the Pittsburgh are Darby Dan was always special to me.  Love reading about those "good ol' days!"  What a legacy.

27 Aug 2014 9:05 AM

Shared Belief - An opposing perspective!

Shared Belief’s sire Candy Ride was undefeated in 6 starts. He was retired early due to unsoundness. Of the 172 mares he bred in 2010, 142 live foals were reported in 2011. Nine progenies from this crop were nominated to the 2014 Triple Crown. Candy Boy made it into the field and finished 13th. Is it reasonable to assume that the majority his progenies are either not very talented or not very sound?

Tapit bred 169 mares in 2010 with 124 live foals reported in 2011 and he had almost 20 horses nominated to the 2014 TC.

Shared Belief has won all his 6 starts. Three of those victories have been subsequent to being sidelined by foot issues. His action is not very smooth and there must be some concerns about his potential long term soundness with regular starts on the hard SA speedway.

In his 6 victories, none have been against the top 3YOs in the country. The older horses that he has defeated cannot be considered the cream of the division. Five of his victories have been recorded on synthetic surfaces. Is synthetic his preferred surface or the one that suites his suspect action.?

The connections of SB have avoided shipping out of state to contest major 3YO races since his return. Have they been cunningly picking their spots or is there some other reason? The Haskell, Jim Dandy, Travers and to a lesser extent upcoming PA Derby that could contain California Chrome were never on his schedule. Why were those races been avoided?

His victory in the Passific Classic over a spent GOD and company has propelled him to the top horse in the country status in the views of many. Was his victory more impressive than that recorded by Dullahan in 2012? Dullahan defeated a much younger and more competitive GOD en route to a record time of 1:59.54 for the synthetic surface.

The Awesome Again will possibly be SB’s next engagement before the Breeder Cup Classic. He will most likely run out an easy winner. The 2013 BCC winner MMM won the 2013 renewal of the Awesome Again. The probability of consecutive winners of the Awesome Again, returning to win consecutive BCCs is remote at best. It should also be noted that the Pacific Classic/BCC double in the same year it yet to be achieved.

Does Shared Belief have the potential to overcome all the historic negatives and lingering questions? Certainly! Will he? Unlikely!  

If the BCC was being contested on synthetic he would be a lock. However, I am not convinced that Shared Belief can win over 10F on dirt against the top 3YO & 4YO routers. I am of the opinion that his type of action  will be a negative against a talented group of smooth striding cruisers and closers over 10F on hard dirt surface.

He has the potential for greatness but I think he will be inhibited by soundness issues similar to his brilliant dad.

27 Aug 2014 9:58 AM

Ironically, belief is rising.

Not too long ago horses, fans, trainers alike were being stomped on like a downed cowboy under a Brahma bull, the clowns standing helplessly aside, then a brave young warrior from the east side of the San Francisco bay swoops in, delivers a walloping performance for all to marvel upon, sharing a renaissance of how great a horse can be.

Swooning spirits lifted; anticipation flutters, its wings fully spread over all who care to be fanned, thanks to a shared belief in just how great these magnificent creatures can be.

27 Aug 2014 10:09 AM

Great article and the photos were absolutely fabulous. Hope Shared Belief out performs all expectations,much  admire his trainer as well.

27 Aug 2014 10:12 AM
steve from st louis

Steve, do you have any pictures of Graustark? Without a doubt my all-time favorite. A Chicago friend of mine never forgets to remind me that Graustark, despite breaking a bone during the running of that Blue Grass, was beaten by the Illinois-bred Abe's Hope, who of course, ran the race of his life and never amounted to anything. At that time, I thought Graustark was the best racehorse I'd ever seen. Only Ruffian,Dr. Fager,  Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid came close. What days those were for Darby Dan! And what pictures those were from your little Brownie camera!

27 Aug 2014 10:12 AM

Whether it pans out or not remains to be seen, but Shared Belief gives me a feeling of excitement.  It only comes with certain horses.  The first one for me was John Henry.  The little engine that COULD.  Seattle Slew, the Bid, and Affirmed all gave me the feeling.  Silver Charm really got into my blood.  The thoughts of Barbaro still send chills up and down my spine.  Bi Brown from the 20 bole in the Derby.  These are magical moments, and magical animals.  The list is endless.  Let's hope Share belief is the real deal.  It is good for the game.

27 Aug 2014 10:52 AM


If you spoke (wrote) less, and instead followed racing and breeding more closely, you'd know that it is Unreasonable " assume that the majority of his (Candy Ride's) progeny are either not very talented or sound." Candy Ride is approaching elite sire status, and for good reason. You seem to offer Candy Boy as a negative example. To my mind, Candy Boy is a superior talent to any that competed in the Travers, but for Bayern. Time will tell.

27 Aug 2014 1:06 PM
Hail No

Thanks for a compleat and thorough introduction to Grenfall. Pictures are fabulous, and I hope I can tube that Widener with paddock companions, Good Counsel and His Majesty, performing as best friends should, that is an incredible story in itself :)

27 Aug 2014 1:13 PM

I love these remembrances.

Any possibility of a story about the great *Ribot?  I remember that after his stud lease was up, they couldn't run the risk of shipping him back to Europe because of his "firey" nature so they had to keep him in NAm.  And then he had Ribocco and Ribero and Ribofilio et al.  The Frankel, etc. of his time when he ran; the Danehill, NDancer, Galileo of his time at stud.

27 Aug 2014 2:09 PM
rachel fan

Shared Belief and Constitution were the two horses that impressed me the most besides CC (still my favorite) before the Kentucky Derby. SB looked so effortless in his wins prior to his injury and I thought if anyone could beat CC, it would be him. I hadn't noticed the paddling motion of his left foreleg, but from the side his stride looked smooth and powerful. Hopefully, that running flaw doesn't cause him any career-ending injury down the line; who wants to see any of these wonderful horses injured, for that matter? If he competes in the PA Derby and/or the BC Classic against Chrome, it will be a sight to see if they both get the trips they want and hook up in the stretch, perhaps with Wicked Strong trying to run them down.  

27 Aug 2014 2:13 PM


I love these pictures and your theories.  Primonetta was such a classy mare.  Prince Thou Art was one of my favorites for his age group with his dark coloring.  So unfortunate he broke down.  Cum Laude Laurie put together a nice string of victories but in the end it was not enough to earn her year end honors.  That went to Our Mims, Alydar's half sister.

Grenzen was well regarded but because she competed against another favorite of mine in her age group, B. Thoughtful, I was always rooting for B. Thoughtful in their races together.  At least Grenzen went east of the two to compete against other 3 year old fillies which you have to respect.

27 Aug 2014 2:13 PM
Mister Frisky

@Coldfacts,Solid analysis as usual.Congrats,you called your shot on VE Day and at price no less.Hopefully you bet the house!

27 Aug 2014 4:31 PM
dance with fate

Insightful & intriguing discussion of Shared Belief's heritage. The photos are just enchanting - so appreciated!  More familiarity brings more fondness & more caring for Shared Belief as an individual.  Liked Primonetta's pairings with Hail to Reason also & the pasture tales. Each thoroughbred embodies a living legacy as BelmontBarb beautifully wrote.

27 Aug 2014 4:41 PM
Eric Rickard

Great pics and article. Love the history and pedigree lesson. I hope Shared Belief stays sound and races for a few years. Can not wait to see him and California Chrome to meet up. Hope to see you at the Spa this weekend.

27 Aug 2014 5:53 PM


While scrolling through the new submissions I saw your ID and mine immediately below. I quickly bypassed the particular submission as when you take time out of you busy schedule to directly engage me, it is usually to remind me that I am complete idiot with baseless theories designed to misinform the vulnerable less informed.  

Whichever bit of my nonsense you found disturbing, you have my sincere apology. Let me assure you that I will endeavor provide more meaning submissions going forwards.  

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

27 Aug 2014 7:07 PM

Ditto MZ....A story about Ribot, in your gifted hands would be wonderful.....Climbing trees and all!

27 Aug 2014 10:35 PM
Paula Higgins

mz, I would also love a piece on Ribot. He was better than Frankel in my opinion. He was also hell on wheels and I am sure there are plenty of stories Steve could tell.

27 Aug 2014 10:42 PM
Tana Rae

Many thanks for your research of Shared Belief's family.

You've done what I couldn't and wouldn't.  I've followed this guy since his 2nd race - can't recall the conditions - but said to my husband "Look at him - look how he accelerates in the home stretch!"  Hubby says "great" now can I get back to O'Reilly?  Well, you can be darn sure hubby knows who Shared Belief is now.  I'm the horse lover.  Hubby is the political passionist.  But we both agree on Shared Belief.  Even with his whacky front-action.

28 Aug 2014 12:19 AM


Glad you clarified something by defining Graustark's look as "quite unique." In a past blog he was defined as

a typical Ribot. There were no typical Ribots. The big

rap against him abroad was that he didn't stamp himself. His get came in all shapes, sizes, and colors, which may have been the primary reason why he was available for export on a lease. But, as Leon Rasmussen

put it, despite this some of them sure ran like him.

28 Aug 2014 12:48 AM
Linda in Texas

The history intrigues me most. Just love it and i take it all in and long for more. Also, suggest you all go back and read 13 January 2014, post/blog Steve wrote, last line, just tells me how phenomenal Steve is at critiquing this sport. He called it a little teaser 7 months ago in discussing Shared Belief. I was looking up 'paddles his front or left front' to understand the phrase. Gemologist and Pamplemoussee did the same thing. There are others but i need to close up shop and get some shut eye. Thank you Steve, i love the name Primonetta. A wonderful black poodle owned me for 17 years and her name was Puffaletta, sort of reminded me of her. The good ol' days of everything, I wish they would come back. And i was wondering how Mr. Nehrud is as i remember his Fappiano.  

28 Aug 2014 1:19 AM

Two major G1, 10F races were contested last weekend i.e., Travers and Pacific Classic. One was restricted to 3YOs and the other was for 3YOs and older. The Pacific Classis was won by 3YO Shared Belief and the Travers by V E Day. The victories of both horses could not be more different.

Shared Belief was the 4-5 ML favorite to win the Pacific Classic and his 4th graded stake. V E Day had a ML of 15-1 to win his graded stakes debut in a G1 race competing against 4, G1 winners. There can be no doubt which horse had the greater challenge.

En route to victory, Shared Belief passed the tiring 7YO Game On Dude like he was glued to the ground and just had to be kept up to his work. VED had to pull out all the stops to defeat a fellow talented 3YO and a multiple graded stakes winner that had kicked wickedly for home and was not coming back to the field.

As a 3YO Shared Belief was in receipt of 6lbs from his older opponents. V E Day picked up 7Lbs from his last start and was at level weights of 126lbs with his opponents. If the Travers were a handicap race V E Day would have been in receipt of 8lbs or more.

Shared Belief scored his expected Pacific Classic victory and has since been the talk of the town. Those caught up in the euphoria of his victory and potential greatness have missed the unprecedented occurrence in the Travers and its unlikeliness.

The record books have to be extensively searched to reveal the last time a winner of the G1 Travers used the race as its graded stakes debut. The record books will have to be turned upside down to find the number of times a 3YO made its graded stake debut in a G1 over 10F.  

V E Day was ignored in the Curlin and won at 9-1. He was again ignored in the Travers and won at 19-1. The historic nature of his unlikely and unprecedented victory is again being ignored and overshadowed by Share Belief’s Pacific Classic victory A victory that was no different from the others recorded by 3YOs undefeated or not.

A sign of greatness is denoted in the magnitude of the challenges that are overcome against all odds. Sometime greatness is right under our eyes and there is no need for us to look in the West as the further one looks the lesser on sees.    

28 Aug 2014 7:54 AM
Bill Two

Every once in a while a horse with action like Shared Belief - with tremendous potential - comes along .  Tap Shoes was one of them.  He was trained by the great Horatio Luro and did indeed turn out to be a very good horse, but I wonder whether that paddlewheeling action eventually did him in?  I really don't remember and would welcome any comments from anyone who does.

28 Aug 2014 10:34 AM


Must disagree with some of the statements you offer. Ribot did tend to stamp his get; Graustark was one of the exceptions. If you don't believe me, perhaps find a copy of John Aiscan's book on Ribot...One of the worst byproducts of the internet/blogging is the RE-writing of history. Yes, there's that, and also the massive spewing of utter nonsense; example in point-Coldfacts.  

28 Aug 2014 11:03 AM

Thanks for the insight on a little known member of the Ribot family. For some reason when I first became interested in racing I became enamored of Ribot and his history. I'm continually surprised that this great sire doesn't seem to get his due compared to other great sire's who, in my humble opinion rank below him. Thanks for giving me another name to watch for in pedigree's when I'm looking for reasons to like a horse and I feel they need a dose of Ribot's stamina and speed to be successful.

28 Aug 2014 11:46 AM
Linda in Texas

Mr. Nerud, with sincere apologies and please forgive me for adding an 'h' to your name in my late night post. Linda

28 Aug 2014 11:54 AM
The Deacon

The remarkable Ribot, arguably the greatest European runner ever. Certainly in the conversation with Sea Bird, Sea the Stars, Frankel and Dubai Millenium.

Ribot was 16 for 16 in his racing career. Bred in Great Britain by Federico Tesio. Two time Arc de Triomphe winner, 1955 & 1956.

Sired oter Arc winners including Prince Royal. Brilliant race horse as well as sire. His progeny include Tom Rolfe, 1965 Preakness winner, Arts & Letters 1969 Belmont winner, Graustark (as mentioned) and His Majesty among so many others.

Grand sire to Pleasant Colony and Hoist the Flag as well. Ribot was mentioned as one of the top race horses in the 20th Century as well as having one of the best and influential bloodlines.

I do not recall his 1959 breeding with darby Dan as perhaps Steve would but I can say with confidence that Ribot's presence on the farm help stamp who Darby Dan is today.......brilliant race horse and sire, class personified.

Brilliantly written piece here Steve, the mention of Graustark stirred some old memories. Everyone wanted to see the Graustark-Buckpasser match-up, much like Rachel-Zenyatta, but it wasn't meant to be.

Horse racing is so strange, these fragile equine beauties have short careers but leave a life time of memories for us too cherish. I think sometimes we are all lamenting about the "what ifs" of racing more then the actual races. Oh my, what coulda been........

28 Aug 2014 2:31 PM
Steve Haskin

Funny, you hear about the look of Graustark and how he looked very little like Ribot, there was speculation by some for years that Graustark was really by Swaps, not Ribot, but obviously that was never substantiated or proven. Many of the Graustarks do have that Swaps look. The suggestions to do a blog on Ribot is very appealing. I have a lot of Ribot stories, having spent so much time near him and being so close to his groom, Floyd, who gave me Ribot's specially made bridle, which I have since donated to Old Friends for their future museum.

28 Aug 2014 2:44 PM
Daniel Jividen

Great old photos.  Pleasant memories of a better world.  Grenfall is one of the best looking yearlings I've ever seen.

28 Aug 2014 6:01 PM
Paula Higgins

Steve, sounds like a Ribot piece might be coming soon. He was probably the greatest European horse of all time. Nice of you to donate his bridle to Old Friends(museum).

28 Aug 2014 10:30 PM

Always enjoy reading your pedigree articles. However, what I see in Shared Belief's background is a distressing list of short careers due to ankle/foot weaknesses (thru Mr. Prospector line). Fortunately Shared Belief will never pass on these tendencies, but since he's already had foot issues, I wonder how long he will be able to compete. Perhaps his future is on turf not dirt.

28 Aug 2014 11:00 PM

“Candy Boy is a superior talent to any that competed in the Travers”

I am the dish washer and you are the college grad and academic. It therefore stands to reason that you should be far superior in analyzing data and performances in arriving at reasonable conclusions that present no possibility of being labeled ‘utter nonsense.’

Unlike you, I will not be unkind and attach a dismissive label to your above conclusion. However, I will allow the cold facts to speak for themselves.

Candy Boy: (10 Starts, 2-4-1; Earnings: $675K)

He broke his maiden in his 4th start and has 1, G2 stakes victory. Finished 13th in KD!

Wicked Strong: (10 Starts, 3-2-1; Earnings: $1.5M)

He broke his maiden in his 2nd start and has victories in G1&G2 stakes. Finished 4th in KD & BEL; 1st Wood & Jim Dandy!

Tonalist: ( 7 Starts, 3-2-1;  Earnings: $1,2M)

He broke his maiden in his 2nd start and has victories in G1&G2 stakes. Won – BEL & Peter Pan!

V E Day: (6 Starts, 4-1- 0; Earnings: $829K)

He broke his maiden in his 3rd start and has not lost 3 sun sequent starts. Has a G1 stakes victory. Won - Travers!

List above are the records for Candy Boy and the top 3 finishers from the Travers. I do not profess to be as bright as you are but it appears that the 3 from the Travers have more wins; have G1 wins and more earnings.

Tonalist defeated top rated California Chrome in the Belmont a colt that left Candy Boy toiling in his wake in the SA & KD Derby. Wicked Strong that finished 4th in the Belmont has since defeated Tonalist twice. V E Day defied both in the G1 Travers.

If the careers of the above 4 colts should end today, where do you believe Candy Boy would be ranked amongst the four?

If a stud farm was considering one of the four for duties, do you believe Candy Boy would be first choice?

I am aware that you are a very brig individual. But I am also acutely aware that too much learning maketh thee mad.

29 Aug 2014 9:51 AM


“Candy Ride is approaching elite sire status, and for good reason”

Do the cold facts reflect that Candy Ride is approaching elite sire status?

Between 2005 and 2010 Candy Ride bred 887 mares that represent his 6 crops that have raced. There were 628 named foals and 396 runners resulting in a 63% of runners to name foals.

Of his six 3YO crops to race he has produced 8 G1 winners and 7 were in his first 3 crops. Eight G1 winners from 396 runners represents 2%. He has a grand total of three Derby starters from those 6 3YO crops:

2009 - Chocolate Candy 5th

2010 -  Sidney’s Candy 17th

2014 – Candy Boy 13th

He was bred to 182, 172, 182, 139 and 138 between 2009 and 2013. I consider him overbred between 2009 and 2011.

His best runners before Shared belief were Twirling Candy, Sidney’s Candy and Misremembered.

There are several stallions that have far superior record to Candy Ride and merit being cited as approaching elite status. Hard Spun was a nose away from being the sire of the Arlington Million and the Travers in the same year. These are two prestigious G1 races contested on two different surfaces.

If this  stallion with 2%, G1 winners from runners and 3 unplaced Derby starters is approaching elite sire status, there is hope for me to secure my GED and thus be removed from my stuck on stupid status.

29 Aug 2014 11:21 AM

Hope your not teasing us Steve, can't wait for the Ribot blog. Sounds like the perfect project for you when the Breeders Cup races conclude and the winter doldrums set in.

30 Aug 2014 9:36 AM
Dr Drunkinbum

This is the way I see it on Tom Durkin's call of the 2009 Kentucky Derby with Mine That Bird. It just accentuated how extraordinary and astonishing Mine That Bird's race and achievement was. It was like he came out of nowhere so fast, it was difficult for the eye to see and the mind to decipher what was happening. Tom Durkin is the greatest, and I hope he enjoys his well deserved retirement, with no regrets. So many magical moments including his 2009 Kentucky Derby call. I like the call. It really corresponds well with a 50-1 shot. This isn't happening, how could it be happening, what just happened !!!!!!!

30 Aug 2014 11:52 AM

It is extremely difficult to assess where a "freak" comes from. You may be right but it is just as likely that the random way Secretariat influences progeny of his grandsons (Storm Cat, Gone West, Dehere, and AP Indy as the best examples) that came shining through here. All have produced great ones and dogs.

And, once in a while a true freak shows up with very little explanation. The best example here is Dr. Fager. He was definitely one of the greats of all time but a look at his pedigree leaves you bewildered as to where he came from, unless you accept the premise that he was ALL TEDDY (4x5x5)!

31 Aug 2014 12:21 PM

Tom Durkin's call in the last furlong and a half of the 2009 Kentucky Derby was one of his worst. It did not capture in any memorable way the acceleration,  the needle treading move against the rails and the ridiculing gesture displayed by his rider.

His commentary was disjointed, lack smoothness and had moments of pause as he was very late in recognizing the horse that bolted through on the rails. To cap of his bad last 2F call was his call was his comments after the line “An impossible result here” With his experience in calling the KD, he should have known that there is nothing impossible in the Kentucky Derby.

Giacomoo the previous 50-1 winner had only a MSW victory to his credit. MTB was the Canadian champion 2YO with significantly more victories.

He was simply not prepared to call a race that covered every eventuality. Consequently he was not his usual creative self when MIB emerged with the lead and was left struggling for words.  In short, he was dumb struck.

31 Aug 2014 2:06 PM


I believe you stated that you bypassed my submission. What changed? On top of everything else, me thinks you're a dishonest sort.

31 Aug 2014 3:51 PM

Thank you sir, for bringing up Grenfall. I bred my older mare to him twice while he was at UC Davis, but neither breeding took, as he was having breeding issues then. I so wanted a filly from him exactly for as you brought up, for his dam and her dam, Banquet Bell, who was also Broodmare of the Year (as was Primonetta). Banquet Bell as you pointed out foaled Chateaugay, Ky Derby winner, and Luiana, the dam of Little Current, who would have won the triple crown if there hadn't been 24 in the 74 Derby, finishing fifth after making five runs through traffic. His his book "Shoe" (who I threw up on horses in the mid 60s as a groom for Charlie Comiskey)recalled Graustark while riding Port Wine in a stakes race in Chicago in 66. Port Wine had won four straight at Hollywood Park including the $100,000 Futurity easily. Shoe said he had a two length lead with a hand full of horse at the top of the turn when Graustark (making his first start and the 3-2 favorite) came up on Port Wine just long enough to say goodbye, and opened up 8 on the field. This is why we love these horses,we see great horses once again and favorites and they live again! The example I give to my friends is AP Indy; sired by Seattle Slew, still the only triple Crown winner, and out of a Secretariat mare!

31 Aug 2014 3:56 PM
American Pegasus

Thanks for the informative article.

I was fortunate to watch one of Shared Belief's workouts at GGF and I became an immediate fan.

I am happy for a former partner Kevin Nish of KMN Racing for being part of the connections. Who says you can't be struck by lighting twice? Well the connections here did so with Mizdirection and now with Shared Belief.

Congrats to all!

01 Sep 2014 11:11 AM

Another great article and beautiful photos!  Thanks!  In addition to the Ribot article, how about a Tom Durkin one?  I would LOVE to know more about him as he certainly seems like a genuinely nice person as well as being a very talented race caller!

01 Sep 2014 11:57 AM

I'm not a big fan of Durkin, not because I don't like him, I'm just not familiar with his calls (except the big races) and I've gotten so used to the aussie / south african race callers (Wrona at GG and Denman at SA).   I find them more consistent and accurate with their calls...and they can be pretty funny as well.

Yesterday at GG, in the 6th race, the 4 horse was 0 for 26 trying to graduate and they're trying him on the turf for the first time and won easily.   Wrona's comments were "I'm sure they (connections) were scratching their heads and thought " why didn't we try this sooner ?!?" "  lol.

01 Sep 2014 3:59 PM


After reading your post directed to Jermon, I decided to read the one directed to me. I should have pointed out this fact. I was not being dishonest when I advised you that I bypassed it initially.

If I had seeing your comments I would have addressed them in my initial response as I totally disagree with your views. I was surprised that your comments were not as offensive as they have been in the past.

01 Sep 2014 4:31 PM

Coldfacts 27 Aug 2014 7:07 PM:

You response to Sceptre's disparging remarks was hilarious to say the least ...and you've pretty much done better than hold your own against his vitriol've knocked him out with the cold facts in the Candy Ride/Candy Boy skirmish. Kudos to you buddy ...way to go!  

01 Sep 2014 4:39 PM


When a brilliant horse has Hyperion inbreeding as close up as Shared Belief does, chances are, that's a main source of his class. If Shared Belief wins the Breder's Cup Classic this year, keeping his undefeated record in tact, he could run up a Zenyatta-like streak in the future. He's an exciting horse but he still has a lot to prove on dirt against the like of California Chrome, Wicked Strong, Bayern and rising star, V E Day.

01 Sep 2014 5:23 PM

Apparently my rebuttal to Sceptre was waste-canned. That's all well and good. Life goes on.

The posting I made on 28 Aug 2014 was from memory. The only thing I feel guilty of is that I should have taken the time to word it better. Because of the friction it created I contacted a sister who was executor of my mother's estate to ask if by chance she had come across any of my personal property when she prepared our former family residence for sale. Lo and behold, she had two large manila envelopes containing a number of publications and clippings relative to the thoroughbred horse and racing. Among them were some concerning Ribot, covering his entire history to that time. The info that is pertinent to my posting was in a column by Leon Rasmussen found in The Morning Telegraph dated May 17, 1965 entitled "Ribot's Offspring Have Won Classics In Four Nations Now." The paragraph from which I quoted follows;

Oddly enough, Ribot's offspring have never been too popular with buyers and some prominent breeders have been known to knock him. This is probably because Ribot's get have come in all shapes and sizes and colors. The hallmark of a good sire is that he stamped his get in his own image. Ribot has not. Yet look at what he has done standing in three different countries in a comparatively short span of time. They may not look like him, but a good many of them run like him.

In an accompanying article by Joe Hirsch, he opens a paragraph by saying "Galbreath has taken something of a beating since bringing Ribot to the U.S." He doesn't go on to say exactly what the beating was about. That long ago, its hard to remember everything. I don't think it was in reference to finances. It may have in reference to verbal flak.

Whether or not you post this is up to you.    

02 Sep 2014 12:15 AM

"If Shared Belief wins the Breder's Cup Classic this year, keeping his undefeated record intact, he could run up a Zenyatta-like streak in the future"

An interesting hypothesis. There are similarities between Zenyatta and SB. Both are dominant of synthetic and lightly races on dirt. However, the brilliant race mare ventured outside CA for her 4th start and 1st on dirt. Her racing career was meticulously managed. Her connections avoided big races on the East coast and she was unbeatable in CA.

The same scenario could work for SB. However there were no fillies/mares in CA that could match strides with Zenyatta. Certainly, California Chrome if he is worth his salt should provide meaningful competition for SB.

Candy boy has been defeated handily twice by CC and SB. This suggests they might just be on par with each other. Will the connections play the avoidance game? I hope not as racing needs rivalries.

CC has already made starts in four states and with his expected participation in the PA Derby that will make it five. He could have contested the Awesome Again on a track that he has decimated the opposition in his last 3 appearances. However, with the incentives and bigger purse the PA Derby is a no brainer.

The connections of SB could have opted for a $1M PA Derby and an out of state test. However, the $250K Awesome Again got the vote. Why run such a brilliant horse in a race with a $250K purse when it could easily win one with a purse of $1M?

Is this an indication of developing pattern? Bayern was sent to the Haskell, Candy Boy to the WV Derby and CC to the PA Derby. SB stays at home. Shipping and winning is never easy so keeping SB in CA might just be the best approach if Zenyatta like streak is the objective.

02 Sep 2014 11:19 AM

I am curious to see how Shared Belief will continue to progress.  With his connections I expect that he will be well managed.  I went to his romp on dirt at Los Al.  He certainly passed the eye test that day although it was not exactly a stellar field.  Candy Boy is a nice horse but he appears to be a cut below the top equines in this 3yo crop at this stage.  Game on Dude fired in the Pacific Classic.  His one dimensional way of going was compromised by pressure from an outsider from the get go.  The race set up perfectly for Shared Belief.  May SB have a long career like the Dude, who although he has fired some duds has danced all of the dances for several seasons.

04 Sep 2014 12:03 AM

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