I was not a huge fan of Shared Belief going into the Pacific Classic. I really liked him last fall at the now-closed Hollywood Park, and he had been routinely excellent in his limited appearances. But, overall, I remained unconvinced by the level of competition that he was beating and generally am against 3YO’s facing older for the first time. When handicapping that race, I was trying to find reasons to beat Shared Belief, who would be facing older for the first time. But the field was uninspiring — Game on Dude was well past his prime (and since retired.) Toast of New York was the only other horse who liked the surface, but he himself was coming off a significant layoff, only having raced once since the Belmont Derby. He also was a 3YO facing older horses for the first time. Of the remaining horses, Majestic Harbor was an open question — bringing in top dirt form — but ultimately struggled.
So, it was not a terrible surprise when Shared Belief romped home in visually-impressive fashion as the favorite. His raw time of 2:00.28 was very nice as well.
Most of the publicly-available speed figures that came out were great. The Beyer was 115 and the Timeform was 116. But, the Bris speed figure was originally reported as a 95. This opened up some question as to whether the race was indeed as impressive as it looked, especially given the weak cast. There are criticisms of Bris figures (there are criticisms of all figures, though), but I was wondered whether there might be something in their approach that the others had missed. However, a few days after the race, this tweet came from Brisnet:
The controversial speed figure was being revised upward to 111. From what I remember from reading the Beyer trilogy, revising figures is an accepted part of the long-term speed figure process, although the 16 point shift on the Bris scale seems quite large. As a result, the Bris figure — which was among the only reasons to knock Shared Belief — was now in line with the other figures. This is reflected on the past performances for Shared Belief as well. Thus, it seems, at least among the top publicly available figures (and the Sheets reportedly have a very good rating for Shared Belief as well), there’s no controversy left:
Shared Belief ran a monster race in the Pacific Classic. He deserves his place at the top of the division.
Check back later in the week for a preview of racing from Santa Anita and for our opinion on whether there’s any value to be made in betting Shared Belief. Plus, tons of coverage of Belmont Super Saturday.