San Antonio Showdown between California Chrome and Shared Belief would be historic

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Ed DeRosa

January 29th, 2015

Regardless if you want to call the pending matchup between Horse of the Year California Chrome and champion Shared Belief a rematch—as America’s Best Racing is branding it—or a mulligan—as’s Vance Hanson suggests in the video below—such a matchup is undeniably history.

The last time champion males of a single generation met on the racetrack following their championship seasons was the 1987 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park when 1985 champion two-year-old male Tasso faced 1986 champion three-year-old male Snow Chief, but neither emerged victorious, as Judge Angelucci won.

It could happen again in the San Antonio Stakes on February 6 at Santa Anita Park if 2013 champion two-year-old male Shared Belief takes on 2014 champion three-year-old male California Chrome. Both horses have won Grade 1 races since facing each other in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic. California Chrome was third in that race before going on to win the Hollywood Derby, and Shared Belief was fourth before going on to win the Malibu Stakes. The San Antonio would be both horses’ four-year-old debuts.

Assuming Shared Belief starts this year he would be the first two-year-old male champion to do so as a four-year-old since 2008 juvenile Midshipman made a pair of starts in Dubai as a four-year-old. Interestingly, the last four champion two-year-old males between Midshipman and Shared Belief (Lookin At Lucky, Uncle Mo, Hansen, and Shanghai Bobby) all retired following their three-year-old seasons to Coolmore’s Ashford Stud.