06/20/2005 11:00PM

Giacomo fine after surgery

Benoit & Associates
Anziyan Royalty (center) is headed to the Gold Cup after losing the Californian by a length to Lava Man (right).

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo is expected to make a full recovery and return to racing next year after undergoing surgery at Hollywood Park on Tuesday to have bone chips removed from his left front ankle and his right knee.

The two-hour procedure, conducted by Dr. Rick Arthur, will result in Giacomo being rested for about three months. He could return in the first few weeks of the Santa Anita winter meeting in 2006.

The bone chips were diagnosed after X-rays were taken following Giacomo's seventh-place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 11. Giacomo briefly led the field on the final turn of the Belmont Stakes, but faded through the stretch.

Tuesday's surgery was conducted at the backstretch hospital at Hollywood Park. According to Dr. Jeff Blea, who served as anesthesiologist, Giacomo was under anesthesia for approximately one hour. The bone chip in the ankle was the more serious of the two injuries.

"It was a pretty average or normal chip, very typical," Blea said. "From my experience and what we saw, I expect him to come back as good if not better. The injury won't have any ill effects on his performance. I think it will make it him a better athlete. We'll recommend 90 days off, which is conservative."

Blea described the chip in the knee as "basically insignificant. It was like the size of a ball-point pen head."

Shirreffs said Giacomo was back in his stall by 12:30 p.m. Pacific, less than three hours after leaving the stable for the operation. Shirreffs said Giacomo "looks like he came through the surgery really well."

He said the colt will be rested for a few days before starting a walking program. "We'll add a few minutes of walking every day and gradually build it up," he said. "You want to get the joint moving pretty soon."

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Giacomo has won 2 of 10 starts and $1,966,316. He scored a shocking victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 7, rallying from 18th in a field of 20 to win by a half-length at odds of 50-1. The race marked his first stakes win in his fifth stakes appearance.

Giacomo finished third in the Preakness Stakes on May 21, losing by 9 3/4 lengths to Afleet Alex.

Anziyan Royalty going to Gold Cup

Anziyan Royalty earned a trip to the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 9 with his runner-up finish in the $250,000 Californian Stakes last Saturday, trainer Craig Dollase said Tuesday.

"I think that race stamped him as a contender," Dollase said.

The Californian marked Anziyan Royalty's biggest success in a graded stakes. Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Anziyan Royalty finished a length behind Gold Cup hopeful Lava Man.

Anziyan Royalty, owned and bred by Nick Cafarchia, has won 6 of 17 starts and $304,640. He won the On Trust Handicap for California-breds last November and was third behind Cozy Guy in the California Cup Classic last October. The Gold Cup will mark Anziyan Royalty's first start at 1 1/4 miles.

"It's worth a try," Dollase said of the Gold Cup.

The Gold Cup lacks a standout. Rock Hard Ten, the winner of the Santa Anita Handicap and Strub Stakes earlier this year at Santa Anita, is only in light training after battling soreness in May.

Other candidates for the Gold Cup include Al Arz, Choctaw Nation, Keep on Punching, Lava Man, Preachinatthebar, Pt's Grey Eagle, and Supah Blitz. Choctaw Nation was third in the Dubai World Cup in March, but only fifth in the Californian Stakes.

Dollase trains Pt's Grey Eagle, the winner of the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap for sprinters last fall. Second to Preachinatthebar in an allowance race last Thursday, Pt's Grey Eagle is also a candidate for the $350,000 Triple Bend Handicap here on July 3.

Cesario arrives from Japan for Oaks

Cesario, the winner of the $1.7 million Japanese Oaks at Tokyo Racecourse on May 22, arrived on Monday at Hollywood Park for the $750,000 American Oaks on July 3. Cesario was scheduled to remain in quarantine until midday on Wednesday. She will begin training on Hollywood Park's main track on Thursday, track officials said.

A winner of 4 of 5 starts and $2,128,568, Cesario is trying to become the first Japanese-based filly to win the American Oaks, which along with the Hollywood Gold Cup is the richest race of the meeting.

Last year, Dance in the Mood, a filly from Japan, finished second to Ticker Tape in the third running of the American Oaks.

Cesario's only loss came in the Japanese 1000 Guineas, when she was beaten a neck. She has won three stakes, ranging in distance from 1 1/8 miles to 1 1/2 miles, all on turf.

Last Sunday, invitations were issued to 14 3-year-old fillies for the American Oaks. The top contenders include Melhor Ainda, the winner of the Sands Point Handicap at Belmont Park, and Three Degrees, the winner of the Honeymoon Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Main-track breeze for Megahertz

Megahertz, the 124-pound topweight for Saturday's $200,000 Beverly Hills Handicap, breezed a half-mile in 49.20 seconds on the main track on Tuesday. The Grade 2 Beverly Hills Handicap is run at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

It is customary for trainer Bobby Frankel to work his leading horses on the main track, even in advance of turf races.

"She just breezed," said Frankel's assistant, Humberto Ascanio. "That's all we planned to do."

Megahertz will be trying for her 12th stakes win in the Beverly Hills, which is expected to draw a field of at least six. The other probable starters are Agata, Five Nickels, Halo Ola, Uraib, and Winendynme.

Sunday's $150,000 Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf for 3-year-olds will not have a large field. As of Tuesday, there were only five probable starters - Honorable Coach, Johnny High Brite, Legal Precedent, Osidy, and Willow O Wisp.

Dollase began considering Johnny High Brite when he learned of the short field on Tuesday. "I haven't run in a graded stakes with him, but I'll consider it now," he said.

Stakes-placed twice last year, Johnny High Brite finished fourth by a length in his turf debut in a one-mile optional claimer on June 9. He was in traffic in the final quarter-mile of that race.