05/20/2005 11:00PM

Breaks didn't come for Giacomo


BALTIMORE - All the doors that opened for Mike Smith and Giacomo two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby closed on that duo in Saturday's Preakness Stakes. Thus, there will be no Triple Crown on the line in three weeks at Belmont Park.

In upsetting the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 two weeks ago, Mike Smith guided Giacomo on a smooth trip, finding room wherever he needed it to win by a half-length. Meanwhile, Afleet Alex got stopped slightly on the turn before finding room and splitting horses in the stretch to finish third.

Saturday, the roles were reversed. Afleet Alex and Giacomo raced together down the backside in 10th and 11th position after a half-mile run in 46.07 seconds. But as Afleet Alex was moving into contention with an eye-catching, rail-skimming move around the turn, Smith and Giacomo were looking for room behind horses. By the time they found it, Afleet Alex was long gone. This time, Giacomo had to settle for third, 9 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

"They just jammed on me on the turn," Smith said. "I could've went around; believe me, it was 10 wide. You can't go 10 wide and catch a horse that was darting through on the fence. I saw he was moving so good, I tried to follow him a little bit. He was in there and out of there, and by the time I got there the door shut on me and I had to wait and wait."

Smith was able to get out in upper stretch, but it was way too late.

"I was so proud of him to run third,'' Smith added. "We got home nice and good, he galloped out strong, so I'm looking forward to the Belmont.''

It was unclear immediately after the race if Giacomo would head to the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Giacomo, trained by John Shirreffs, is the first Kentucky Derby winner since Monarchos in 2001 not to also win the Preakness.

Many handicappers didn't expect Giacomo to even do as well as third. His Kentucky Derby win was deemed a fluke by many, one set up by a rapid early pace. He was sent off as the third choice at 6-1, the longest price for a Derby winner since Charismatic went off at 8-1 in 1999.