Updated on 09/18/2011 12:34AM

Giacomo polishes tarnished image

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Winning for the first time since his 50-1 upset in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, Giacomo caught Preachinatthebar in deep stretch to claim the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap by a head.

Giacomo, ridden by Mike Smith, captures the to earn his first victory since last year's Kentucky Derby.

Giacomo proved in Saturday's $300,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar that he is more than just a one-hit wonder.

Winning for the first time since his 50-1 upset in the 2005 Kentucky Derby, Giacomo caught Preachinatthebar in deep stretch to claim the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap by a head. The race was Giacomo's first start since he finished fifth in the Santa Anita Handicap in March.

Ridden by regular rider Mike Smith, Giacomo ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.15. Smith took advantage of a perfect trip to give Giacomo his second career stakes win. Giacomo was sixth for the first six furlongs, racing six or seven lengths behind Preachinatthebar, who set fractions of 22.81 and 46.01 seconds while closely pursued by Rathor.

Giacomo circled a line of four horses entering the stretch and was up to fourth with a furlong remaining, trailing Preachinatthebar by 3 1/2 lengths. With his late style that worked so well in the Kentucky Derby, Giacomo rallied to lead at the finish.

"I knew he'd have a good showing," Smith said. "I thought he needed the race, and he still won. He was blowing afterward. He got a lot out of it."

Preachinatthebar finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Papi Chullo, who was disqualified and placed last in the field of seven for bothering Rathor in early stretch. Southern Africa was promoted to third.

Giacomo has won 3 of 13 starts and $2,202,316 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs. The win left Shirreffs eager for Giacomo's next scheduled start in the $1 million Pacific Classic here on Aug. 20.

"I thought he'd run a good race and finish," Shirreffs said of his hopes for the San Diego. "I would have been happy with that. To win is just great."- Steve Andersen