Giacomo to Rest, Then Ship for Preakness

Giacomo to Rest, Then Ship for Preakness
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Surprise Derby winner will continue quest for the Crown.
(from Hollywood Park notes)
Trainer John Shirreffs said he'll give Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo a few days to walk and rest at Churchill Downs before being shipped to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 21.

"I'm not that familiar with Pimlico," said Shirreffs. "I've never been there before."

Shirreffs, America's most recently discovered racing star, returned to work at 5:30 a.m. in Barn 55 South at Hollywood Park on Sunday, only hours after sending out Giacomo to a 50-to-1 upset victory in the Kentucky Derby.

"We flew back here last night at 11 on the Mosses' (owners Jerry and Ann Moss) private jet," said Shirreffs, still wearing the lucky Mill Ridge navy baseball cap he had on at Churchill Downs.

"I'm not quite in sync with everything going on here, so you probably shouldn't ask too many questions," said Shirreffs in jest after winning the nation's most popular race in his first attempt. "The reality hasn't sunk in yet. When I get a chance to look at the pictures in the newspaper and relive it a little, it will all come back."

Shirreffs followed in the footsteps of Hall of Fame trainers Jack Van Berg and Neil Drysdale, who also train here year-round. Van Berg won the Kentucky Derby with Alysheba in 1987 and Drysdale captured the 2000 edition withFusaichi Pegasus.

Giacomo again proved that the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I) ranks as a leading barometer for Kentucky Derby success. Runner-up in the 2004 Futurity, Giacomo became the sixth graduate of the race to win the Derby and first since Real Quiet in 1998.

Shirreffs had a chance to see Hollywood Story overcome a nightmarish start to win the Hawthorne Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood later in the day on television. "Incredible," said Shirreffs after the 4-year-old filly clipped heels and nearly fell approaching the first turn before rallying from far back to score a 2 1/2-length victory.

Shirreffs and assistant Michelle Jensen, who deputized in the Hawthorne, were grateful that the filly came back from the race in apparent good order.

To purchase Giacomo photographs from this year's Kentucky Derby, click here

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