05/06/2005 11:00PM

Giacomo leads longshot parade

Giacomo (center), ridden by Mike Smith, rallies in the stretch at 50-1 to trigger Derby record payoffs in the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jerry Moss has another hit.

The successful record producer went to the top of the charts on Saturday at Churchill Downs when Giacomo, the colt he owns with his wife, Ann, came from far back under jockey Mike Smith to score a 50-1 upset in the 131st .

The victory was sweet vindication for trainer John Shirreffs, who never gave up on Giacomo despite his below-par efforts this spring at Santa Anita, and for Smith, whose biggest disappointment came aboard Giacomo's sire, Holy Bull, who finished 12th as the favorite in the 1994 Derby.

"He redeemed his father," said Smith, a Hall of Fame rider who won the Derby for the first time in 12 tries. "I'm so numb. I can't tell you how I feel. When I stood up at the finish, all my strength left my body. Never have I had a feeling like this. This is unreal."

Shirreffs won the Derby in his first try.

Giacomo, who stormed down the middle of the track in the final furlong, won by a half-length over Closing Argument - at 71-1 the longest shot in the race - who had taken the lead just inside the eighth pole. Afleet Alex, the race's second choice at 9-2, finished third, another half-length back, and Don't Get Mad, a 29-1 shot, was fourth.

Giacomo paid $102.60 to win, which is the second-largest win payoff in Derby history to Donerail, who paid $184.90 in 1913.

With longshots taking three of the first four spots, the exotic payoffs were enormous. The exacta paid a Derby record $9,814.80, the trifecta a Derby record $133,134.80, and the superfecta an astounding $1,728,507, easily a Derby record. The Oaks-Derby double, coupling Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly with Giacomo, paid $595.20.

Bellamy Road, the 5-2 favorite, was caught wide while pressing an extremely hot pace, forged his way to the lead at the top of the stretch, but was spent by midstretch and faded to seventh.

"He had a perfect trip," said Javier Castellano, who rode Bellamy Road. "He was in the right spot. He didn't have any excuse. Down the backside he was running comfortable. Turning for home he responded a little bit, but he just didn't have it."

Buzzards Bay was fifth and was followed, in order, by Wilko, Bellamy Road, Andromeda's Hero, Flower Alley, High Fly, Greeley's Galaxy, Coin Silver, Greater Good, Noble Causeway, Sun King, Spanish Chestnut, Sort It Out, Going Wild, Bandini, and High Limit.

Giacomo completed 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.75 over a main track that was much faster than par. He earned $1,639,600 from a gross purse of $2,399,600 for the Mosses.

Giacomo won for only the second time in eight starts. He won a maiden race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting last fall in his second start. He completed his 2-year-old campaign by finishing second to subsequent juvenile champion Declan's Moon in the Hollywood Futurity.

This year, Giacomo - who did all of his racing at Santa Anita while being trained at Hollywood Park - was third in the Sham Stakes, second in the San Felipe, and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby.

"We knew that he was improving off each race, and that's what kept him going," said Shirreffs, who brought Giacomo here on Wednesday after doing all his Derby training in California.

Giacomo benefited from a scalding pace that sapped the front-runners. Spanish Chestnut, as expected, led the field past the stands, around the first turn, and through the backstretch while setting fractions of 22.28 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, 45.38 for a half-mile, and six furlongs in 1:09.59, the second-fastest six-furlong split in Derby history.

A crowd of 156,435, the second-largest in Derby history, attended this Derby, which was the first run at Churchill Downs following the completion of a $121 million renovation project.

Bellamy Road was sent off the favorite because of his spectacular victory four weeks earlier in the Wood Memorial. He entered the Derby with just two prep races this year. In the past 57 years, only Sunny's Halo in 1983 had won the Derby in his third start of the year.

Bellamy Road's trainer, Nick Zito, sent out five runners, equaling a record first achieved by D. Wayne Lukas in 1996, when Lukas won with Grindstone.

"Great expectations bring great disappointment," Zito said.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee and Mike Welsch