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Apr 17, 2015

Shared Belief goes out of state for Charles Town Classic


Charles Town, WV ( - Shared Belief, the current unanimous top choice in the NTRA Poll, will be making his first ever trip outside of California to run in Saturday's $1.5 million Charles Town Classic at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

Co-owned by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Shared Belief has been installed as the 2-5 morning line favorite for the 1 1/8-mile stakes with eight challengers looking to pull off the upset.

Shared Belief will start from post 4 with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith again in the saddle. Smith won the Charles Town Classic two years ago aboard 3-10 favorite Game on Dude.

The Classic will be conducted over Charles Town's six-furlong track, making it a three-turn event, something new for the favorite.

"It's an unknown," Hollendorfer said concerning the race configuration. "But we have a very athletic horse that has a big turn of foot. We think he should be able to handle that and get the job done, or we wouldn't come. I talked to Mike Smith, and he was quite confident the horse would do well there. (Smith) has done well there, himself, so I tend to think he knows what he's talking about."

All of Shared Belief's previous starts have come in California where he has won 10 of 11 races for $2,932,200. He's perfect in three starts at the 1 1/8- mile distance.

"The main consideration was it's a lot bigger purse than anybody else is offering," Hollendorfer said about bringing his gelding to West Virginia. "Number two, the weight (Shared Belief will carry) is 123, and that was quite attractive to us. Number three, timing wise, it gave me an extra week to work with the horse and get him ready for another race. Our horse is doing very well, and we're grateful."

Shared Belief won his season debut on Feb. 7 in the San Antonio over California Chrome at Santa Anita. Four weeks later the 4-year-old trounced the competition in winning the Santa Anita Handicap by 4 1/4 lengths as the 3-10 favorite.

Moreno, second in the Santa Anita Handicap, is the 7-2 second choice for the Classic and will break from post 6 with jockey Cornelio Velasquez getting the riding assignment. Velasquez is the fifth different rider for Moreno the last five starts.

Trained by Eric Guillot for Southern Equine Stable, Moreno is expected to be on the lead Saturday as he was at Santa Anita two starts back.

"He's a one-trick pony. If you're in front of me, you went too fast," Guillot said, "If they ride him right, yes, he's got that kind of ability (to win). Three turns and a short stretch - that's Moreno's type of racetrack."

The 5-year-old gelding has banked $2,074,940 from 25 lifetime starts with three wins, eight seconds and four thirds. Just three weeks ago he was third in the New Orleans Handicap as the 6-5 favorite.

Defending Classic winner Imperative is 15-1 in the program and will be ridden by Alonso Quinonez from the far outside post in the nine-horse field. The 5- year-old gelding, trained by George Papaprodromou, defeated last year's returning champ Game on Dude as a 26-1 longshot.

"The plan was always to come out here to Charles Town and win this race," Papaprodromou said. "We always jump from one race to another, but the plan was to come here. Shared Belief is a great horse. He's a freak. But Game on Dude was a freak and unbeatable. He can run. He can do it."

Imperative, owned by Kenji Morinaga, is also coming out of the Santa Anita Handicap where he finished eighth in a 13-horse field. He was sixth to Shared Belief in the previous month's San Antonio. The 5-year-old son of 2006 Eclipse Award winner Bernardini is winless since last year's Classic, a streak of eight races. In 23 career starts he has three wins, four seconds and three thirds for $1,341,120.

Here is the field for the Classic in post position order: Looking Cool, Walter De La Cruz, 30-1; Vyjack, Jose Montano, 12-1; Street Babe, Joel Rosario, 15-1; Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 2-5; Page McKenney, Horacio Karamanos, 20-1; Moreno, Cornelio Velasquez, 7-2; General a Rod, John Velazquez, 12-1; Warrioroftheroses, Travis Dunkelberger, 50-1 and Imperative, Alonso Quinonez, 15-1.

Post time for the Charles Town Classic will be approximately 6:05 p.m. ET.

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