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Shared Belief is favorite for BC Classic

October 28, 2014

ARCADIA, California (AP) — Shared Belief was made the early 9-5 favorite on Monday in a field of 14 for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race featuring a strong contingent of seven 3-year-olds taking on older foes. Shared Belief is 7-0 in his career, with all of his races coming in California.

Shared Belief’s most recent win was in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita last month for co-owner and sports talk host Jim Rome. The colt drew the No. 6 post for the 1 1/4-mile race on the same track.

“He’s got speed all around him and we’ll be able to follow them into the first turn,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who will ride Shared Belief.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome will break from the No. 13 post as a 4-1 second favorite in the early market. He has lost two straight races and one of his owners has said the colt will be retired if he runs poorly on Saturday.

“He loves Santa Anita. The horse is training great and I look for a big performance out of him,” trainer Art Sherman said. “I love the post position. I don’t have to be down there (inside).”

Tonalist, who ended California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid with a victory in the Belmont, drew the No. 11 post and is the 6-1 third choice.

Untapable, the nation’s top 3-year-old filly, is the 5-2 favorite for the $2 million Distaff, one of four Breeders’ Cup races on Friday. She will break from the No. 10 post under Rosie Napravnik in the field of 11.

Close Hatches is the 3-1 second choice and drew the No. 11 post.

Untapable won her first four starts this year, as did Close Hatches. Defending champion Beholder was sidelined by a fever.

American Pharoah drew post position five in a field of 13 for the $2 million Juvenile, where the 2-year-old will try to position himself as the early favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby.

American Pharoah will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who rides California Chrome in the Classic.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, American Pharoah is 2 for 3 in his young career. His sire, Pioneerofthe Nile, finished second to 50-1 shot Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

The Juvenile, to be run Saturday on the second of two days of racing during the 31st Breeders’ Cup, includes two entries each from Baffert, Todd Pletcher and Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Daredevil, who is 2 for 2 for Pletcher, landed in the tough outside post of No. 12. His other horse, Carpe Diem, also is 2 for 2.

“Sometimes horses pull bad trips from good posts and vice versa,” Pletcher said. “Both horses are going into the Juvenile in great shape and they have been very good horses at the gate.”

The Juvenile features one of the deepest fields in Breeders’ Cup history. Besides Daredevil and Carpe Diem, Blue Dancer and Souper Colossal also are undefeated.

Connections of California Chrome are hoping for a rebound in the Classic. After finishing fourth in the Belmont, California Chrome took an extended break and returned last month in the Pennsylvania Derby, where he ended up sixth.

“He keeps getting stronger and stronger,” said Alan Sherman, assistant to his 77-year-old father, Art. “I think he’s coming into the race just as good, if not better, than he was into the Derby and Preakness.”

The Classic field also includes Bayern, who will try to end Baffert’s 0-for-12 skid in North America’s richest race, which caps Saturday’s card of nine Breeders’ Cup races.

The $26 million world championships open Friday with four races, including the $2 million Distaff at 1 1/8 miles.

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