08/25/2005 11:00PM

Giacomo gets green light to train


DEL MAR, Calif. - Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo will soon start light exercise after recently being given a clean bill of health following surgery in June to have bone chips removed from his left front ankle and right knee.

Unraced since finishing seventh in the Belmont Stakes on June 11, Giacomo is expected to begin tack-walking at trainer John Shirreffs's stable at Del Mar in coming days.

"We can start back anytime," Shirreffs said. "He will just tack-walk in the morning. He can start jogging when he goes back to Hollywood."

The Shirreffs stable will return to Hollywood Park at the conclusion of the Del Mar meeting on Sept. 7.

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Giacomo's most recent win came in the Kentucky Derby. He followed that performance with a third-place finish in the Preakness Stakes. The bone chips were diagnosed shortly after the loss in the Belmont Stakes.

Shirreffs said recent X-rays on the ankle and knee were encouraging.

"You can't see where the chips were," he said. "That's what you hope for."

Booked to enter stud at Adena Springs in Kentucky at the end of his racing career, Giacomo is still several months from a return to racing.

"I'm sure the Mosses want to run him as a 4-year-old," Shirreffs said.

A possible goal is the Strub Series for 4-year-old males in early 2006 at Santa Anita. Giacomo has won 2 of 10 starts and $1,996,316.

Mullins to stick with plan

Through Thursday, Jeff Mullins led the trainer standings with 17 wins, but he said he is not planning a full-scale assault in the final days of the meeting in an effort to win the title.

Mullins said that many of his horses will be sent to Fairplex Park and Santa Anita early next week. He said 30 horses will be shipped out, leaving approximately 12.

"We're leaving what we're running, and that's it," he said. "I will run whatever I've got to run. There are some that need to get out of here."

Mullins has never won a training title at Del Mar. Through Thursday, Mullins had a two-race lead on Bob Baffert and a three-race advantage on Doug O'Neill.

"I won't run horses in races where they don't belong," Mullins said. "You can't win that way."

Mullins expressed concern about the condition of the Del Mar main track in recent days and said that some of his horses would be better served by leaving soon.

The track "has been good up until now," Mullins said. The horses "are showing signs of fatigue."

His comments were echoed by trainer Ted West, who has already sent 18 horses to his year-round base at Santa Anita. Only his starters for the final week remain.

"The track goes through so much wear and tear," West said.

Thirteen stakes over final eight days

Beginning Wednesday, there are 13 stakes in the final eight days of the meeting, ranging in value from $80,000 to $400,000.

On Sept. 4, the Grade 2, $350,000 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap is being run for the first time over a mile on turf. The race was previously run over a mile on the main track, but has had short fields in recent years.

There is no standout among the candidates. The probable starters include Coronado's Pride, Just Wonder, Masterpiece, Running Free, Sam Forli, Terroplane, Toasted, Tsigane, We All Love Aleyna, and Wild Buddy.

The $400,000 Del Mar Derby over 1 1/8 miles on turf Sept. 5, will also have a large field. The candidates include Becrux, Eastern Sand, El Roblar, In Excelsis, Legal Precedent, Orbits World, Osidy, Shamoan, and Willow O Wisp.