SHARED BELIEF: Either Champagne or Tears ©HELEN SOLOMON

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SHARED BELIEF — once unbeaten in his first seven races and ranked number one in the world — was known for his tenacious fighting spirit, and incredible eye-catching athleticism, despite his smallish stature and a left foreleg that paddled outward.  Having freshly resumed training, in preparation for a much anticipated return, tragedy struck.  This four-year-old Eclipse champion by Candy Ride died suddenly following a bout of colic, shocking and saddening the world of thoroughbred racing.  It has been said that in horse racing there is no inbetween; it is either champagne, or tears.

My deep personal feelings of sorrow extend to his connections, which include owners Alex Solis, Jason Litt,  Jim and Janet Rome, KMN Racing, and George Todaro, trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and Dan Ward, jockey Mike Smith, groom Armando Rodriguez, and all Hollendorfer stable workers for their immense loss, but mostly to the horse himself, who passed away so young and will never enjoy a full life that he deserved.

I consider myself privileged to have photographed him in five races at Santa Anita.  Over a seven month period, I witnessed his brilliance and unequaled, in my experience, determination to win.  Despite being smaller than his rivals, he feared nothing, and would lay his body down — no matter the hindrance or obstacle put in his way, such as physical contact, being pushed far wide, or being wiped out at the break — to beat them.  As Mike Smith said, some racehorses have the ability to make you fall in love with them, just like they were family.  Trainer Art Sherman put it best: upon hearing of SHARED BELIEF’s death, he felt like it had happened to one of his own horses.

RIP champ, we won’t soon forget you.

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Despite being targeted and pushed five wide throughout the G1 Awesome Again Stakes, SHARED BELIEF and jockey Mike Smith (black with blue arm stripes) emerged victorious (09.27.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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First time he looked into my lens, and I saw his sheer beauty as he ran in the Awesome Again Stakes, I knew SHARED BELIEF had greatness (09.27.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Schooling for the Breeder’s Cup Classic 2014 — SHARED BELIEF with his loving and tough groom Armando Rodriguez. ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Handlers take a tight hold, as dark bay SHARED BELIEF schools in the paddock days before the BC Classic 2014 ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Tension precedes the $5 million BC Classic (11.01.14). In a packed SA paddock, are part-owner Jim Rome and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer — as the statue of Seabiscuit looms in the background (11.01.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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While in the midst of the huge Breeders’ Cup crowd, jockey Mike Smith, aboard SHARED BELIEF, remains focused on the Classic (11.01.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Jockey Mike Smith and SHARED BELIEF — the undefeated two-year-champion of 2013 — looking beautiful as the field heads to post for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic. This is a tension-filled — but exciting — time for both jockeys and spectators (11.01.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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At the start of the $5 million BC Classic — a break which will live in infamy — SHARED BELIEF, breaking from post #6, had the racing misfortune of having eventual winner BAYERN (#7) cut him off at the start, severely diminishing his chances in the race (11.01.14) ©HELEN SOLOMON

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The field turns into the home stretch of the BC Classic, with the two champions — SHARED BELIEF and dual classic winner/HOTY CALIFORNIA CHROME — trying their hearts out, and BAYERN stealing it on the front end, hugging the rail (11.01.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Despite bad racing luck at the break of the BC Classic, the Eclipse champion did not give up. SHARED BELIEF and Mike smith gave it all they had, in an awe-inspiring display, getting up for a fourth place finish (11.01.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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After suffering his first loss, the G1 Malibu Stakes for three-year-olds was SHARED BELIEF’s next conquest (12.26.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Tremendous horses both, SHARED BELIEF and CONQUEST TWO STEP battle in upper stretch in the G1 Malibu Stakes, finishing one-two respectively. The difference in size is evident (12.26.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Part-owners of SHARED BELIEF — Kim and Kevin Nash of KMN Racing, Alex Solis, and Jim Rome of Jungle Racing — celebrate SHARED BELIEF’s G1 Malibu Stakes victory (12.26.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Groom Armando Rodriguez looks into the eyes of SHARED BELIEF, in the winner’s circle (12.26.14). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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The much awaited showdown between the now 4-year-old champions SHARED BELIEF and 2014 Horse of the Year CALIFORNIA CHROME — arguably, the best 3-year-olds of the previous year — came on a drizzly day, in the G2 San Antonio Stakes (02.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Both champs, SHARED BELIEF and CALIFORNIA CHROME, looked physically ready and eager for the G2 San Antonio Stakes showdown (02.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Excitement, as the field turns for home in the San Antonio Stakes. While 2014 Kentucky Derby winner/HOTY CALIFORNIA CHROME seemed to be in control, the-little-horse-that-could blew past the strapping chestnut on his way to victory (02.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Pensive moment filled with gratitude and thoughts of what might have been, as the victorious team of SHARED BELIEF and Mike Smith enter the winner’s circle following the San Antonio victory (02.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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The prestigious G1 Santa Anita Handicap (Big ‘Cap) was SHARED BELIEF’s next proving ground. Like many great horses, he was an endearing character who would stop suddenly in front of photographers to have his protrait taken (03.07.15) ©HELEN SOLOMON

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Small in stature, but unafraid, the Big ‘Cap proved, once again, what a gritty and exceptionally talented gelding SHARED BELIEF was (03.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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SHARED BELIEF running in the Santa Anita Handicap. It was a thing of beauty (03.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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I have never seen a racehorse contort his body — a.k.a., lay his body down — the way champion SHARED BELIEF did. He stretched his body out — as far as equinely possible — to pass all rivals, on his way to victory in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap (03.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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One final winner’s circle celebration for Jerry Hollendorfer and Jungle Racing’s SHARED BELIEF, as the brilliant Big Cap win would prove to be his final completed race (03.07.15). ©HELEN SOLOMON

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February 15, 2011 – December 3, 2015

SIRE: Candy Ride (ARG)
DAM: Common Hope (KY), by Storm Cat

  • 12 Starts: 10 – 0 – 0
  • Graded Stakes Wins:  5 G1, 2 G2, 1 G3
  • EARNINGS: $2,932,200
  • Eclipse Champion Two Year Old Male, 2013

JUNGLE RACING’s release on Facebook:
“Thoroughbred racing is a sport filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Some of the most thrilling and surreal moments of our entire lives have occurred in this sport. Unfortunately, today we have suffered our most devastating. We have lost Shared Belief. He seemed to display signs of Colic this morning so our vets rushed in to treat him. They immediately sent him to UC Davis so he could get the best medical attention available, as quickly as possible. Emergency Colic surgery was performed, but doctors were unable to save him. We are still awaiting results of an autopsy. We are all absolutely devastated. Shared Belief was a once in a lifetime horse. A champion, fighter and unbelievable talent who impacted and changed all of our lives. The little horse that feared no one and could do anything. He absolutely loved his job and to compete and run. As heartbreaking as this is, we all consider ourselves so fortunate to have been a part of this amazing animal’s life. He was a super horse from day one. He would end up winning 10 of 12 starts, including 5 G1’s and an Eclipse Award. The Big Horse was a champion in every sense of the word. There will never be another like Shared Belief. Our hearts are broken. RIP, Champ.”

All Rights Reserved.
My copyrighted images may not be used without my written consent.

©2014-2019 Helen Solomon


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