01/14/2014 12:39PM

Dick Jerardi: Guerrero remains bullish on Classic Giacnroll


Only talented 2-year-olds improve their performance in every one of their first five races. That was the beautifully named Classic Giacnroll (son of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo out of Classic Woman) heading into Jan. 4 Jerome at Aqueduct.

The colt did not win that day, but his second to favorite Noble Moon was probably his most impressive race yet. According to Trakus, Classic Giacnroll had to go 63 feet, or 7 1/2 lengths farther, than Noble Moon on his wide run around the racetrack.

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Given his breeding, it is no surprise that Classic Giacnroll is going better as the distance increases. His first four races were all in Parx Racing sprints.

He made his debut at Parx on July 23 and got a 49 Beyer at 5 1/2 furlongs when fourth, beating by 4 1/2 lengths. On Aug. 13, he got a 62 when second beaten by 1 3/4 lengths, also at 5 1/2 furlongs. He won his maiden at Parx on Sept. 3, getting up by a nose and earning a 59 Beyer in his first race at six furlongs.

I was at Parx on Sept. 16 when Classic Giacnroll looked hopelessly beaten at the eighth pole in a first-level six-furlong allowance. Co-owner Joe Besecker, a Saint Joseph’s University alum and a man who loves his horses, came storming in from the track apron wanting to know if the colt had gotten up. I assured him that Classic Giacnroll, three lengths behind with 200 yards to go, would win the photo. He won it by a head and got a 77 Beyer.

Part-owner Lisa Guerrero, who trains the horse along with her husband, Carlos, then gave the colt some time and brought him back on Dec. 7 in the seven-furlong Marylander Stakes at Laurel Park. Just as he had in his first four races, Classic Giacnroll came running at the finish, making up five lengths in the stretch to finish third, beaten by two lengths. He got an 85 Beyer.

Classic Giacnroll got into the Jerome, his first two-turn race, much earlier than usual, going from fifth to second on the backstretch. He never could get by Noble Moon. Could have been the trip, could have been that Noble Moon is just a very good horse.

Whatever the reason for the loss, Classic Giacnroll certainly ran well enough in defeat and got an 82 Beyer. Barring a huge figure breakthrough, this does not look a Kentucky Derby kind of colt, but who knows?

I don’t think Giacomo was on top of too many lists in January 2005. Classic Giacnroll’s dam, Classic Woman, raced 14 times with 3 wins, 5 seconds, 3 thirds, and earnings of $97,160. She won a small stakes at Sam Houston in January 2000 and did her other racing for owner Keith Asmussen and trainer Steve Asmussen at Fair Grounds, Lone Star, Louisiana Downs, and Keeneland. She got a career-best dirt Beyer of 82.

Her son, purchased for $27,000 at Timonium in May, already has a career best 85 and has earned $118,100. Is he a stakes winner? Time will tell.

Carlos Guerrero certainly thinks they have a really good horse. He spends most of his time these days at Aqueduct with the colt, driving up from his home in south Jersey.

“I check on him 10 times a day,” Guerrero said. “I think he is special.”

Guerrero was not thrilled with the early move in the Jerome, believing the horse would have run better if allowed to settle and make one big run.

“Everything didn’t set up the right way,” Guerrero said. “I think he lost a lot on the first turn. When he was laying fourth or fifth, I said ‘Just stay there.’ Then, he starts moving. I’m like ‘Where you going?’ Took him out of his rhythm.”

Guerrero expects to run Classic Giacnroll in the $250,000 Withers on Feb. 1 at Aqueduct. He is hoping that Cornelio Velasquez will ride.

“I think this horse is really good,” Guerrero said. “He’s still growing. He’s a May foal. He gives you everything every time. He’s got a big heart.”

Guerrero liked what he saw just before the sale.

“He was all proud of himself, bouncy, very alert,” Guerrero remembered. “The legs were nice and straight. He’s put together nice.’’

And, so far, Classic Giacnroll has run as nice as he looked last May at Timonium.