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May 13, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


            The 131st Kentucky Derby has come and gone but not without some

surprises, huge payoffs and disappointed connections. The winner of the Derby

 was GIACOMO, a 50-1 longshot ridden by jockey Mike Smith and trained by

John Shireffs. After running in 18th for the better part of the race the gray colt by

 HOLY BULL came with a strong run, avoiding traffic along the way to get up for

the score over an even bigger longshot, the longest shot in the race in fact

CLOSING ARGUMENT. AFLEET ALEX was third with DON’T GET MAD finishing

 fourth. The favorite in the race was BELLAMY ROAD who was sent off at 2.60-1

 but he didn’t have it in the stretch and finished seventh. This was best finishing position of any of the five Zito horses and he actually put a head in front as they approached the stretch

 but tired in the drive. He did exit the race with an injury. It was found that he

popped a splint bone but it was not of much significance and the horse should be

back for the big races this summer according to his trainer (Zito). The other four

 horses in Zito’s barn didn’t do much running at all. ANDROMEDA’S HERO made

 up some ground in the stretch to finish a non threatening 8th. HIGH FLY coming

off two big wins in Florida, actually made the lead as they approached the stretch but

 faded badly in the drive to finish 10th. I still believe his future may be on the turf

despite his huge success on the dirt. NOBLE CAUSEWAY and SUN KING ran 14th

 and 15th respectively, neither one of them making any kind of impact in the race.

All in all a very disappointing day for Zito.

            Another high profile trainer that had more than one entrant, Todd Pletcher

 ran three horses with BANDINI his top horse. His best finisher was 41-1

FLOWER ALLEY who had some traffic trouble and checked in ninth. COIN SILVER

 never made a move and finished 12th with the best one of the bunch, BANDINI

 finishing 19th after stalking the pace in midpack early on. BANDINI came out of

the race with a bone chip in his right front ankle and will undergo surgery. It is

hopeful that he can be back for the races in the fall.

            At this point there looks to be nine definites heading to the Preakness, with

 the top three finishers in the Derby all heading to Pimlico in Maryland. Others

that are pointing to the Preakness are GOLDEN MAN, GREELEY’S GALAXY,

 HAL’S IMAGE, MALIBU MOONSHINE, SCRAPPY T and WILKO. The following

 are possibles for the Preakness,  A.P. ARROW, GOING WILD, HIGH FLY,

HIGH LIMIT, NOBLE CAUSEWAY and SUN KING. It looks like there might be

 a full field of 14 horses in the Preakness. Despite the fact that GIACOMO was

 50-1 in the Derby he will be right there in the Preakness. He has been doing well

 in the week after the Derby and he does have enough tactical speed that he will

not have to be as far back in this race as he was in the Derby. The favorite in the

race will probably be AFLEET ALEX based on his solid third place finish in the

Derby and the fact that there are some dropouts from the Derby and the new

shooters are not much to speak about. In terms of getting a Triple Crown it is

obviously not going to be easy but GIACOMO has a big shot in the Preakness

which is his first step but you have to take one step at a time. For the sake of

horse racing lets hope that we can get a Triple Crown winner and get some

interest back in the game.

 

           



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