ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Shared Belief was all over the track, leaving Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith ticked off by the tactics of his fellow riders.
Whether the opposition deliberately tried to derail Shared Belief, it didn't work.
The 3-year-old gelding rallied to win the $300,000 Awesome Again Stakes by a neck over Fed Biz at Santa Anita on Saturday and improve to 7-0.
Shared Belief ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.58 and paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 1-5 favorite in one of five Grade 1 races on the card.
Smith showed no ill effects returning to the saddle one race after getting tossed when his mount slipped and fell on the turf. Shared Belief responded to his left-handed whip to gain the lead in mid-stretch and hang on.
The gelding was fanned out into the first turn, went five-wide into the second turn, and came out four-wide into the stretch before chasing down Fed Biz.
"They tried to use some tactics on me which made the win today even sweeter," Smith said. "They just kept taking me wide, taking me wide, and I believe if you want to press the pace or take me out a little bit, OK. But doing it at all costs just to get me beat isn't the way it should be done. It was to the extreme."
Sky Kingdom, who finished last under Victor Espinoza, carried Shared Belief wide on the first turn.
"We're all big boys. It's no big deal to me," said Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns Shared Belief. "Mike will have to settle up with Victor."
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Fed Biz returned $3.60 and $3.20 after running at or near the lead much of the way. Footbridge was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $5.20 to show in front of 17,023 fans.
"It looked like we had him," Baffert said. "Fed Biz dug in and tried to beat him. We got beat and it was a great race."
Majestic Harbor was fourth, followed by Imperative, Mystery Train and Sky Kingdom, also trained by Baffert.
It was Shared Belief's fourth win of the year, putting him in contention for champion 3-year-old male honors and a shot at Horse of the Year if he could win the Breeders' Cup Classic on the same track Nov. 1. His latest victory gave Shared Belief an automatic berth in the $5 million Classic.
"It's not the worst thing in the world to have a tough race and be double-fit for the Breeders' Cup," Hollendorfer said. "That race will be tougher, so we'll need to be tougher, too."
Shared Belief won all three of his starts last year, when he was champion 2-year-old male. A hoof problem in January kept Shared Belief off the Triple Crown trail for co-owner and sports talk host Jim Rome.
In other Grade 1 races on the card:
—Emollient won the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes by a half-length under Rosie Napravnik to earn an automatic berth in the BC Filly & Mare Turf.
The 4-year-old filly ran 1 1/4 miles on the turf in 2:02.42 and paid $8.40, $5.60 and $3.60.
Parranda returned $7 and $4.20, while Rusty Slipper and Irish Mission finished in a dead-heat for third, 1 1/4 lengths back. Rusty Slipper paid $6 to show, while Irish Mission paid $2.60.
Smith, aboard Moulin de Mougin, got tossed when his mount slipped and fell on the far outside in the stretch turn. They had come from last and were picking off horses when the 4-year-old filly went down on her own, sending Smith flying.
—American Pharoah led all the way to win the $300,000 FrontRunner Stakes for 2-year-olds by 3 1/4 lengths for Baffert, who won the race for the seventh time.
Ridden by Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.95 and paid $3, $2.40 and $2.20 as the 1-2 favorite. A son of Pioneerof the Nile, he was trying two turns for the first time.
"The horse just has that extra 'something,'" Baffert said. "What a performance. You're always hoping for that but you never know."
American Pharoah earned an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile field with his second win in three career starts.
Calculator returned $6.60 and $4, while Texas Red was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third and paid $4.20 to show. Lord Nelson, also trained by Baffert, was fourth.
—Beholder rallied to win the $300,000 Zenyatta Stakes by three-quarters of a length under Smith, who was the regular rider of the superstar mare for whom the race is named.
The 4-year-old filly ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.19 and paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Beholder returned for the first time since June 7 after getting a cut on her left hind pastern in a race on that day's Belmont Stakes undercard. She injured the same area at the recent Del Mar meet and needed five stitches, costing her a week of training.
Tiz Midnight returned $3.80 and $2.40, while Iotapa was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $2.10 to show. The field was reduced to five after Tiz the Key was scratched.
With the victory, Beholder earned an automatic berth in the BC Distaff.
—Angela Renee won the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher, earning a spot in the BC Juvenile Fillies.
The 2-year-old filly ran 1 1/16 miles under Rafael Bejarano in 1:43.45 and paid $7.20, $4 and $3.20.
Conquest Eclipse returned $3.40 and $2.60 as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 12. Danette paid $8.40 to show.