06/12/2005 11:00PM

Giacomo could try the turf

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Horsephotos
Giacomo walks at Belmont last week under the watchful eye of John Shirreffs (wearing cap).

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo may be switched to turf later this summer after a disappointing seventh in Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Trainer John Shirreffs said on Sunday that Giacomo will be rested for "a week or 10 days" before resuming training. Giacomo was flown to Hollywood Park on Sunday. His next start will come in the $400,000 Swaps Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on dirt on July 9 at Hollywood Park or the $400,000 Del Mar Derby over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Del Mar on Sept. 5.

"I'd probably just go to the Del Mar Derby," Shirreffs said. "He has so much grass pedigree."

By Holy Bull, Giacomo is out of the Stop the Music mare Set Them Free. Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Giacomo has never started on turf in his 10-race career, which includes two wins and earnings of $1,966,316.

If Giacomo stays in California, and competes in the 3-year-old division, a start on turf is inevitable.

In the second half of the year in California, turf racing for 3-year-olds is emphasized.

Aside from the Del Mar Derby, there are two other major turf stakes - the Oak Tree Derby at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita and the Hollywood Derby over 1 1/4 miles in November.

There are no major dirt stakes for 3-year-olds beyond seven furlongs in California in the final five months of the year.

Shirreffs said that Giacomo is unlikely to be pointed for the Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on dirt at Saratoga in August. Shirreffs was not happy with the security barn setup used by the New York Racing Association, saying it created an environment of commotion before a race.

As a result, Shirreffs has canceled plans to send Tarlow to the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday.

He said another reason not to consider the Travers is that it would result in a third cross-country trip of the year for Giacomo.

"That's a big factor," he said.

Giacomo finished 17 3/4 lengths behind Afleet Alex in the Belmont. Early in the race Giacomo was just behind the leaders. He took the lead briefly on the final turn, but faded rapidly in early stretch.

Fusaichi Samurai back on shelf after dull race

Fusaichi Samurai, once considered a top contender for the Kentucky Derby, finished last of seven in an allowance race for sprinters on Saturday, his first start since a flashy maiden win at Hollywood Park in December.

On Sunday, trainer Neil Drysdale said that Fusaichi Samurai "will need another rest." He said the colt will run at Del Mar later this summer. Drysdale did not elaborate.

A $4.5 million purchase as a 2-year-old by Fusao Sekiguchi of Japan, Fusaichi Samurai was sent off at 4-5 in Saturday's six-furlong race. Wearing front wraps for the first time, Fusaichi Samurai was never in contention. He raced wide on the backstretch, was never closer than sixth, and finished 19 1/2 lengths behind race winner Greg's Gold ($5.40).

"He kind of felt like he wasn't getting a hold of the track very well this time," said jockey Victor Espinoza. "He came out of the gate so quick, but three or four jumps later, he was just spinning around."

Borrego chooses Californian over Foster

Borrego, third in the Mervyn LeRoy Handicap last month and the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap in March, will stay at Hollywood Park for Saturday's $250,000 Californian Stakes. Trainer Beau Greely had considered Borrego a candidate for the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on the same day, trainer Beau Greely said.

Greely finalized plans to remain at Hollywood Park on Sunday after Borrego worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 seconds.

"He's staying home," Greely said. "I think it's just best. He lives here and we have the Gold Cup coming up."

The Californian, run over 1 1/8 miles, is a prep for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup over 1 1/4 miles on July 9.

In the Californian, Borrego will face Mervyn LeRoy winner Ace Blue, Anziyan Royalty, Choctaw Nation, Lava Man, Molengao, and Skukuza.

Choctaw Nation must be supplemented for $5,000 when entries are taken on Thursday. Trained by Jeff Mullins for Bob Bone, Choctaw Nation has not started since finishing third in the $6 million Dubai World Cup in the Middle East on March 26.

Buzzards Bay returns Saturday

There are three stakes on Saturday, including the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Quicken Tree Stakes for statebreds over 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Buzzards Bay, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby who finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is the 122-pound topweight for the Affirmed. Monday, Buzzards Bay worked seven furlongs in 1:24.60 at Santa Anita. He will face a field expected to include Dover Dere, Indian Ocean, Kyber Pass, and Surf Cat.

Splendid Blended, a filly, is nominated and under consideration. The winner of the Hollywood Starlet last December, Splendid Blended did not make her next start until June 4, finishing fourth in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. She was sent back to California on Sunday, trainer Neil Drysdale said.

Declan's Moon jogging toward fall return

Declan's Moon, the champion 2-year-old male of 2004, has resumed jogging at Santa Anita, three months after being sidelined by a knee injury. Trained by Ron Ellis, Declan's Moon began racetrack exercise last Wednesday.

"The knee looks good," Ellis said. "He likes being back to the track."

Declan's Moon was taken out of consideration for the Triple Crown after being diagnosed with a bone chip in a knee in March. A winner of five starts and $627,300 for owners Mace and Samantha Siegel, Declan's Moon won his only start of 2005, the Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita on March 5.

Ellis is planning an autumn return for Declan's Moon.

Is It True Mex euthanized

Is It True Mex, a 9-year-old gelding who won 17 of 71 starts, was euthanized on Saturday after suffering an ankle injury in the stretch of turf sprint for $40,000 claimers.

Owned and trained by Librado Barocio, Is It True Mex had three wins as an 8-year-old and was a fixture in turf sprints for claimers in recent years at both Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.

Chinese Dragon, Osidy heading to Delaware

Chinese Dragon and Osidy, stakes winners on turf in recent months, are bound for the $250,000 Kent Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/8 miles at Delaware Park on June 25.

Chinese Dragon, trained by Bob Hess Jr., won the Alcatraz Breeders' Cup Stakes last month. He breezed six furlongs in 1:18.80 on turf Sunday. Osidy won the Will Rogers Stakes at Hollywood Park last month.

Valenzuela, back from spill, rides three winners

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela rode three winners from 11 mounts on Saturday and Sunday, his first rides since suffering a spill on May 8.

Valenzuela had two winners on Saturday and one on Sunday.

In the spill, Valenzuela suffered a concussion and an injury to his right knee. He underwent surgery in May to have cartilage repaired in the knee. After Sunday's program, he said the knee was not causing any discomfort.

Valenzuela, 42, led all riders at Santa Anita this winter. Through Sunday, Espinoza led all riders at Hollywood Park with 39 wins, making Valenzuela's quest to be leading rider nearly impossible in a meet that ends on July 17.

"Who said that?" he said with a smile. "I wouldn't say it's out of reach, but it would be hard to do. I want to line up some business for Del Mar."