All eyes will be on Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and Shared Belief on Saturday when they team up for what could be a historic day in the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap.
Never before in the 78-year history of the track has a jockey won the prestigious race three consecutive years.
Smith guided Game On Dude to wins in 2013 and 2014. Now he'll try to do the same with Shared Belief, a 4-year-old gelding who will carry 125 pounds over 1 1/4 miles in a field of 13. Shared Belief is the 3-5 morning-line favorite.
Shared Belief's last race was a 1 1/2-length triumph over horse of the year California Chrome in the San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 7. He has won nine of his 10 races for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, the only loss being in the Breeders' Cup Classic, when he was bumped out of the gate.
Smith received acclaim as the jockey of Zenyatta, the 2010 horse of the year who won 19 of her 20 career starts.
Southern California horse racing fans have been a bit spoiled with Santa Anita hosting three consecutive Breeders' Cups. This year it's at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., and that means Saturday's five stakes on an 11-race card could be the best racing day of the year at Santa Anita.
Besides the Santa Anita Handicap (the last race of the day), another highlight is the Grade II San Felipe Stakes that offers 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby and will feature unbeaten Dortmund, the Bob Baffert-trained 3-year-old. Another undefeated colt, Ocho Ocho Ocho, is entered in the 1 1/16-mile race.
There's also the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on the turf, the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs and the China Doll Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on the turf.