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San Antonio Handicap – Shared Belief Takes Battle Of The Titans

Posted by on 2/6/2015 9:30:34 PM

The San Antonio Handicap is a Grade-2 race that has been held at Santa Anita Park since 1935, and it is run at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. With a huge purse of $500,000, there are usually a couple of top-tier horses aged four years and up lining up in this event.

While California Chrome got most of the attention in 2014 as a three-year-old, Shared Belief might have had a better season and the two should go head-to-head on Saturday. Take Shared Belief to come out on top.

What : Horse Betting

When : Saturday, February 7th, post time 7:00 PM ET

Where : Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA

Pick : Shared Belief

Alfa Bird broke his maiden in his third try, but in this field, he might be in over his head. The four-year-old colt has never run over a mile, two of his three races have come on a synthetic surface and this is his graded-stakes debut. That is a lot to ask of Alfa Bird.

Bronzo's three races have all been graded-stakes events, but he has yet to finish in the money with a fourth at the Grade-1 Gran Premio Latinoamericano in March in Peru, then seven months later, he finished fourth at the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. This six-year-old opened up 2015 with a sixth at the Grade-2 San Pasqual, and this is another tough field for this Chilean horse.

California Chrome came up short of the Triple Crown in 2014, finishing fourth at the Belmont Stakes after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, then he finished sixth at the Grade-2 Pennsylvania Stakes. A third at the Breeders' Cup Classic was encouraging and then he closed the year with a win at the Grade-1 Hollywood Derby. He won the American Horse of the Year and the Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse of the Year, so Chrome is obviously a favorite here.

Clubhouse Ride might not have the legs to hang with the younger horses at seven years old, and he has failed to finished better than seventh in his last four starts. However, he did win the Grade-2 Californian last May, then second at the Grade-1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita a month later, so he might have something left in the tank. Clubhouse Ride finished second to Game On Dude in this race two years ago.

Hoppertunity might be a solid value bet as he has finished first or second in each of his last five starts, including a win at the San Pasqual. He also won the Grade-1 Clark Handicap in November and the Grade-2 Rebel Stakes in March, and second at the Grade-1 Santa Anita Derby in April. If the top horses falter, Hoppertunity could find himself in the winner's circle.

Imperative finished second to Blingo in this race last year and then two months later, won the Grade-2 Charles Town Classic. However, after two third-place finishes in graded-stakes races, the five-year-old gelding came in fifth at the Grade-1 Awesome Again, ninth at the Breeders' Cup Classic and then 15 th at the Grade-1 Champions Cup. Imperative does have speed and has fared well against good competition, but he'll need a good run to inspire confidence for the rest of the year.

Shared Belief has a startling record of eight wins in nine starts, and outside of his maiden and an allowance race, they have all been graded-stakes races. His only “loss” was a fourth at the Breeders' Cup Classic in which he got caught up by early traffic, but he rebounded to win the Grade-1 Malibu on Boxing Day. This race could very well come down to a duel between Shared Belief and California Chrome, arguably the fastest four-year-old horses in the world.

Tonito M. is coming off a fourth at the San Pasqual, and he has one graded-stakes victory as he took the Grade-3 Oklahoma Derby, and he is usually in the mix to finish in the money, but this field might be too strong for him. This will be the first Grade-1 start for this four-year-old colt

You Know I Know is the longshot after needing five tries to break his maiden, and his first 16 starts were either maiden, allowance or claiming races. He did manage to finish third at the Grade-1 Pacific Classic in August 2013, but third is his best in a graded-stakes event and that will not be enough in this field.

How It Will Play Out

Shared Belief and California Chrome were slated to battle at the Breeders' Cup Classic, but they should get their chance on Saturday. It will be fun to watch and it will not be the last time they meet this year, but take Shared Belief to win this round.

San Antonio Handicap Betting Pick: Shared Belief

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