(Improbable wins the Shared Belief at Del Mar on Sunday / Benoit Photo & Courtesy of Del Mar)
From the Del Mar Media Team:
Improbable, who went postward the 4-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby last spring, returned to competition Sunday with an easy victory in the featured $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes for three-year-olds.
Improbable, out of action since the May 18 Preakness Stakes in which he was sixth behind War of Will after being placed fourth via disqualification in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, breezed to the lead under jockey Drayden Van Dyke on the far turn and had plenty left to resist the stretch challenge of previously unbeaten King Jack.
The chestnut son of City Zip, trained by Bob Baffert for owners WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and Starlight Racing, reached the finish two and three-quarter lengths in front, timed in 1:37.53 for the mile on the main dirt track. He went postward as the 3-5 favorite.
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Improbable, winner) – “We were wanting to get him to break good and get position and he did that. He was a little more aggressive today; Bob (trainer Baffert) told me he put a bigger blinker on him today and he might be that way. I was working with him on the backside; it’s give and take (rating a horse that wants to go). But he got to where he needed to be, then put in a very nice finish. He’s a nice horse.”
MIKE SMITH (King Jack, second) – “A good try for my horse. I couldn’t pass him (the winner), I tried, but….”
BOB BAFFERT (Improbable, winner) – “I put the blinker back on him and told Drayden (Van Dyke) to send him. He got a little tough on the first turn, but I think that’s how he wants to run. Just let him go. I was really happy with it. It took him a little while to come back and get used to this track. I still thought, even after his last work, that he wasn’t quite ready. But his class carried him. ”
FRACTIONS: :23.17 :46.63 1:10.75 1:23.68 1:37.5
The stakes win was the third of the meeting, but first in the Shared Belief for rider Van Dyke. He now has 28 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the third of the meeting, but eighth in the Shared Belief for trainer Baffert. He now has 131 stakes wins at Del Mar, far and away the most by any trainer.
The winning owners are WinStar Farm (Kenny Troutt of Versailles, KY), China Horse Club International (Teo Ah Khing with a business address of Tipperary, Ireland) and Starlight Racing (Jack Wolfe of Lexington, KY).