By Sid Fernando
Jim Rome and partners’s Shared Belief, a gelded son of Argentine-bred Candy Ride from Common Hope, by Storm Cat, was taken off the Triple Crown trail due to injury after a championship season at two. Patiently brought back for a mid-summer campaign by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, the undefeated champ announced on Sunday in the G1 TVG Pacific Classic that he’ll be competing for both three-year-old and Horse of the Year honors. All he did was win the 10-furlong all-weather centerpiece of Del Mar’s meet by two and three-quarter lengths in the excellent time of 2:00.28. Yes, he benefited from a suicidal pace up front, but don’t take anything away from him for that. Click here to see the chart of the race and decide for yourself. How many horses these days can compete at 10 furlongs, much less win in as fast a time as he did? And especially on all-weather? I thought so.
Don’t look too far back in Shared Belief’s pedigree for answers, either. Click here to see his pedigree. The gelding’s sire was absolutely top class, and his dam comes from a Pam and Marty Wygod family that’s excelled in California. Plus, she’s a daughter of outstanding sire Storm Cat, a horse used successfully in the Wygod breeding operation; more importantly, the combination of Candy Ride and Storm Cat has been magic, hence the A+++ Werk Nick Rating. Indeed, eight of Candy Ride’s graded SWs are bred on this cross and aside from Shared Belief, they are: G1 winner Sidney’s Candy (from a Storm Cat mare); G1 winner Evita Argentina (Forest Wildcat); G1 winner Capt. Candyman Can (Storm Creek); G2 winner Lolo Forever (Tabasco Cat); and G3 winners Sweet Swap (Storm Cat), Looking Cool (Forest Wildcat), and Candyman E (Sea of Secrets).
Candy Ride started off his stud career in 2005 at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale for a $10,000 fee, and he was a success from the start with three G1 winners from his first crop. He was subsequently moved to Lane’s End, where he covered mares this season for $35,000.
Why’d he start off so cheap? He only made six career starts—he was undefeated, too, like Shared Belief—but his “off-bred” pedigree, Argentine origins, and reputation for brittle feet that abbreviated his US campaign took the sheen off his stud career. By the time he went to stud, he’d been away from the track for more than a year and was an afterthought.
But in his brief career, he was nothing but excellent. Click here to see the chart of his own victory in the G1 Pacific Classic from 2003, a race on dirt that he won in the sizzling time of 1:59.11 while defeating the high-class Medaglia d’Oro.
Argentine-bred sires have not generally fared well in North America with the exception of Forli and Lord at War, so it’s not surprising that Candy Ride actually shares racing characteristics with the two. All three were absolutely top-class racehorses in Argentina at three—undefeated, in fact—and stakes winners in the US as older horses. All three could be described as outstanding milers, too, although they won on class at farther distances.
Each dominated the competition in Argentina. Forli won his three races at two by margins of 12, 17, and 5 lengths. At three, Forli won Argentina’s “quadruple crown,” consisting of the Guineas equivalent, which he won by 12 lengths; the Derby; the Gran Premio Jockey Club; and the Pellegrini. He was undefeated when sent to the US, and won two of three starts here (lone loss due to fracture).
Lord at War won the Group 1 Joaquin S. de Anchorena at three and was named champion miler in Argentina, and as an older horse in the US he won the G1 Santa Anita Handicap, among other races of note.
Candy Ride, too, won the Anchorena, by eight lengths and another Group 1 at 1600 meters, also by eight lengths. He, like Lord At War, arrived in the US as a champion miler. In addition to the Pacific Classic, he won the G2 American Handicap.