Giacomo's stunning victory in the Kentucky Derby didn't scare off many contenders for Saturday's Preakness Stakes -- the second jewel of the Triple Crown -- but trainer John Shirreffs said he sees no reason his Derby champ can't go on winning.
Shirreffs said his confidence before the Derby was based on Giacomo's steady, if unspectacular, progress in his prep races. And, he said, the colt now appears to be ready for another good effort.
"It looks like he came out of the Kentucky Derby pretty good," Shirreffs said Sunday from his barn at Hollywood Park in California. "He was tired for a couple of days but he got his energy level up after that."
The colt is expected to ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Wednesday.
Other Derby starters expected to contest the Preakness include Afleet Alex (third in the Derby), Closing Argument (second), Going Wild (18th), Greeley's Galaxy (11th), Wilko (sixth), High Limit (20th) and one or more of three Nick Zito-trained Derby contenders: High Fly (10th), Noble Causeway (14th) and Sun King (15th).
Trainer Bobby Frankel said High Limit will race with blinkers for the first time in hopes of getting him to focus better. "He's going to make the lead," Frankel said. "He seems like he needs something to make him focus. He does things like jump tracks."
"New shooters" for the second Triple Crown race include local favorite Malibu Moonshine, who ran the table of local 3-year-old preps; one-time New York-based Derby contenders Scrappy T and Galloping Grocer; $100,000 supplemental entry Golden Man from the barn of Richard Dutrow; and Florida-based Unbridled Stakes winner Hal's Image.
In other Triple Crown-related events:
-- Southern Africa rallied from just behind the early pace to win Saturday's $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby by 1 1/4 lengths over Shamoan. Real Dandy was third and the favorite, Awesome Twist, finished last of 11. Southern Africa, a Kentucky-bred son of Cape Town, ran the 1 1/16 mile in 1:41.92 under Jon Court and may have earned a berth in the June 11 Preakness Stakes. "He'll run all day," said trainer Mike Puhich. "We'll see how he comes out of this but the Belmont Stakes is definitely one of the races we're going to look at. It all depends on how he's doing and how the Preakness goes." Southern Africa, based in Southern California, was second to Thor's Echo in the WinStar Derby last month. He now has four wins from nine starts.
In other weekend racing:
The winning streak ended at a record 18 for Silent Witness. In Saturday's Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong, stablemate Bullish Luck came through on the rail to beat his renowned rival by a head as Silent Witness tackled the mile distance for the first time in a career devoted to sprinting. The defeat was no fluke. Bullish Luck has been tough at the distance in recent months, winning such Group races as the Stewards Cup and the Chairman's Trophy. "I told Gerald Mosse on Bullish Luck to move on the outside but he gambled on going inside," said Cruz, who trains the two top finishers. "If he had gone on the outside, Silent Witness would have won. It will be back to sprints with Silent Witness next season but in my heart he is still a champion." Mosse said Bullish Luck "showed a fantastic turn of foot and he ran down Silent Witness. Not many do that."
On Sunday at Kranji Race Course in Singapore, Australian longshot Mummify rallied past the tiring pace-setters to win the Singapore Airlines International Cup -- the second leg of the World Racing Championship series. Epalo and Star Over the Bay set the initial brisk pace but Star Over the Bay suffered a fatal breakdown halfway through the 1,600 meters and Epalo tired in the stretch. Mummify was the best of the closers, beating Phoenix Reach by 3/4 length with Alexander Goldrun, an Irish-based filly, finishing third. "It was a true-run race, which suited us," said winning rider Danny Nikolic. "I spent no petrol in the run. When it mattered, he had something to give." Mummify, winner of the 2003 Caulfield Cup in his homeland, had been off form in recent months and trainer Lee Freedman had considered not sending him to Singapore.
Runaway Dancer raced last through the early furlongs of Saturday's $350,000 Jim Murray Memorial Handicap, came wide into the stretch and got up in time to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Vangelis. The favorite, Exterior, was third with a late run and Continental Red was fourth. Garret Gomez was up on Runaway Dancer, a 6-year-old gelding by Runaway Groom. The Kentucky-bred ran the 1 1/2 mile on firm turf in 2:26.75. "When I turned for home, he really accelerated," said Gomez. "I mean, he was running by some horses that were moving pretty good." The race is named for the late, great sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
Forest Grove stalked the pace in Saturday's $150,000 Los Angeles Times Stakes, got through a hole on the rail as the field turned for home and then held on in the final sixteenth to win by 3/4 length over Areyoutalkintome. Woke Up Dreamin was third in the 6-furlong event for 3-year-olds. Forest Grove, a Kentucky-bred son of Forestry, finished in 1:08.57 under Corey Nakatani. "This horse is getting better and better and he's starting to learn how to relax in a race," said winning trainer Eoin Harty. "And the more he can do that, the better he will be."
In Saturday's $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, Ace Blue collared pace-setting Ender's Shadow in deep stretch to win by a head. Borrego was third as the favorite. Ace Blue, a 5-year-old, Brazilian-bred son of Coax Me Clyde, ran the 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:41.45 with David Flores in the irons. The win was his third in a row and he now has won half his 14 lifetime starts.
Sunday, Lil' Sister Swiss easily justified her favorite's status in the $75,000 Nursery Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, easing away from eight rivals in the stretch run to win by 2 lengths. Walkondaydeeavenue was second and Slick Road finished third. Lil' Sister Swiss, a California-bred daughter of Swiss Yodeler, got 5 furlongs in 58.42 seconds with Victor Espinoza aboard. She is owned and trained by Patricia Harrington.
Golden Gate Fields
Only three horses met the starter in Saturday's $150,000 Golden Bear Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds, with Lost in the Fog both the favorite and the easy winner. The Florida-bred Lost Soldier gelding, a sensation in his home state early this year before being taken off the Triple Crown trail by trainer Greg Gilchrist, went right to the lead and had things all his own way, winning by 10 lengths without being asked for any run by jockey Russell Baze. He finished the 6 furlongs in 1:07.32, with Wind Water second and Olympic Miler third. With no place or show wagering, Lost in the Fog returned $2.10 to win.
Sunday, Chinese Dragon beat just three rivals in the $100,000 Alcatraz Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 mile on the turf. After settling behind the leader, Chinese Dragon made his move on the second turn and won by 1 3/4 length. Leo Getz was second and Mighty Empire was third. Chinese Dragon, a Kentucky-bred son of Stravinsky, finished in 1:37.00 with Corey Nakatani in for the ride for trainer Bob Hess Jr.
Bank Audit just got up in time to win Saturday's $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap by a nose over Sensibly Chic. Forest Music was third and the favorite, Friendly Michelle, struggled home fifth. Bank Audit, a 4-year-old, Virginia-bred daughter of Wild Rush, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.65 for Norberto Arroyo Jr.
Sunday, Golden Commander took charge in the stretch to win the $100,000 Kingston Handicap for New York-breds by 4 lengths over Sicilian Boy. Save the Profit was third and the favorite, Pa Pa Da, finished next-last of 10. Golden Commander, a 5-year-old Deputy Commander gelding, ran the 9 furlongs on the inner turf course in 1:45.35 for Edgar Prado.
Razor showed why he was the heavy favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Matt Winn Stkes for 3-year-olds, quickly spurting to the lead and extending the advantage to a 4-length victory. Crimson Stag was second and Sir Laff Alot was third under the wire. Razor, a Florida-bred son of Concorde's Tune, ran the 6 furlongs in 1:09.48 with Mike Smith reprising his Kentucky Derby victory of a week earlier. Razor won the Dixieland at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, then finished second to Afleet Alex in the Mountain Valley. He then was a dismal third, beaten 15 lengths, in the Lafayette at Keeneland.
Mister Coop laid off the early pace in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) New Providence Stakes, closed four-wide around the turn and won by 1 1/4 lengths over Barbeau Ruckus. Dillinger shot to the lead early in the stretch run but couldn't sustain the margin, fading to finish third. The favorite, Forever Grand, struggled home seventh of 10. Mister Coop, a 6-year-old Great Gladiator gelding, completed the 6 furlongs on a "good" main track in 1:10.56. "I just had to place him," said winning rider Robert Landry. "He basically took me the whole way around and I just had to say when to go. It made it easy for me."
In Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) George C. Hendrie Handicap for fillies and mares, Nashinda went quickly to the lead and easily won off by 4 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite, One for Rose, a two-time Canadian champion, was second and Silver Bird finished third. Nashinda, a 4-year-old daughter of Silver Deputy, ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.49.
My Typhoon raced up a storm in Saturday's $75,000 Hilltop Breeders' Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, repeatedly switching leads in the stretch run before getting clear to win by 2 lengths. Flashy Three was second and Rutledge Ballado was third. My Typhoon, a Irish-bred daughter of the great Giant's Causeway, ran 1 1/16 mile on firm turf in 1:44.38. Jerry Bailey, in town to sign his new book on "Jerry Bailey Day" at Old Hilltop, picked up the mount. Pimlico's Chief Operating Officer, Lou Raffetto, arranged for Bailey to ride the filly after his "day" was scheduled. "I have really been fortunate at Pimlico," said Bailey, who won the 1991 Preakness aboard Hansel and the 2000 renewal on Red Bullet. "It has a special place in my heart."
Lone Star Park
Rodeo's Castle had things pretty much his own way -- and quickly, too -- in Saturday's $75,000 Ford Express Stakes. Hustled to the front, the 4-year-old son of Rodeo clipped through quick fractions and didn't slow down, winning by a head over Joe Six Pack with Two Down Automatic third. The favorite, That Tat, could do no better than fourth. Rodeo's Castle completed the 6 furlongs in 1:07.85, just three-hundredths off the track record.
Smokume stayed close to the lead in Saturday's $65,000 Decathlon Stakes, moved toward the front at the top of the stretch and worked clear to win by 1 3/4 length over a late-coming Vinemeister. Bold Days was third. Smokume, a 4-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding, ran 6 furlongs in 1:09.85.
Sunday, Avery Hall struggled to get the lead in the $60,000 Open Mind Handicap for Jersey-bred fillies and mares. But once she did, the 3-year-old daughter of A.P. Jet flew away to a 5-length victory over Cigno d'Oro, with Smart N Classy third. Avery Hall finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:11.33.
Switch Lanes fought for the lead through most of Saturday's $60,000 Mamie Eisenhower Stakes for Iowa-bred fillies and mares, then got home first by a nose over Traveler. Only At Night was third, another neck back. Switch Lanes, a 6-year-old Deerhound mare, ran 6 furlongs in 1:11.68. Maggi Moss, the oval's leading owner, picked up her third straight stakes victory at Prairie Meadows and also owns Only At Night. "They're both so game. They're both such great fillies and I love them both," she said.
Polish Pride stormed down the lane in Saturday's $50,000 Quick Card Stakes to snatch victory from On Thin Ice by a neck. The Lady's Groom was third as the favorite. Polish Pride, a 7-year-old, Maryland-bred gelding by Polish Numbers, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.73. "The horse ran awesome," said winning rider Mario Pino.
Happy Ticket rallied by pace-setting Southern Surprise and drew off in the stretch to win Saturday's $50,000 Suthern Accent Stakes for fillies and mares by 6 1/4 length. Southern Surprise held second by a nose over Red Lifesaver. Happy Ticket, a 4-year-old, Louisiana-bred filly by Anet, got the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.57.
Sunday, Silver Haze came from last to win the $50,000 Excalibur Stakes for 3-year-olds by a neck over Hopkins. South Beach Boy was third. Silver Haze, a Kentucky-bred son of Silver Deputy, got the "about" 1 mile on firm turf in 1:36.62 under E.J. Perrodin.
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