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Giacomo unleashes a bullet
ARCADIA, Calif. - Giacomo, who finished third in the Strub Stakes on Feb. 4, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 at Hollywood Park on Monday, his final major workout before the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 4. The workout was the fastest of seven timed works at the distance.
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Giacomo started five lengths behind a stablemate, caught up with him at the quarter pole, and pulled away to finish six lengths clear, trainer John Shirreffs said.
"He was feeling very good this morning," Shirreffs said of Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner.
Shirreffs said that Giacomo would have "an easy five-furlong work" next week.
Nakatani was substituting for jockey Mike Smith, who is based in Florida and will retain the mount on Giacomo in the Santa Anita Handicap, Shirreffs said. Nakatani is booked to ride Lava Man, the winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 28, in the Santa Anita Handicap.
Giacomo made his first start since June in the Strub, finishing behind High Limit and Top This and That, two probable starters for the Big Cap.
Wilko, who finished third behind Spellbinder and With Distinction in the San Antonio Handicap on Feb. 5, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 at Hollywood Park on Monday.
Garrett Gomez will ride Wilko in the Big Cap.
Other probable starters in the Big Cap at 1 1/4 miles are Marenostrum, Spellbinder, Texcess, and With Distinction.
Racing colleagues pay tribute to Lewis
Bob Lewis, the popular owner who died last Friday, was fondly remembered by his wife, Beverly, trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas, and racing executive Dr. Jack Robbins in a 15-minute tribute in the Santa Anita winner's circle on Monday.
Baffert, who trained 1997 Kentucky Derby winner Silver Charm for the Lewises, called for the track to place a memorial bust of Lewis in the garden paddock. The track has honored such Hall of Fame horsemen as jockeys Johnny Longden, Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker, and George Woolf, trainer Charles Whittingham, the popular horse Seabiscuit, and the track announcer Joe Hernandez in such a way.
"Those statues are once-in-a-lifetime guys," Baffert said. "He was a once-in-a-lifetime guy. He showed kindness and he was a man of his word and a man of his honor. Someday, I'd like to saddle a horse and see a statue of Bob Lewis in the garden."
Baffert recalled making the famous trek from the Churchill Downs backstretch to the paddock with Lewis, six years after they met one morning at Santa Anita.
"We never thought in 1991 that six years later we'd be making that historic walk with Silver Charm," Baffert recalled. "We looked like a couple of teenagers walking through there."
Lukas, who won the 1999 Kentucky Derby for the Lewises with Charismatic, recalled an occasion when he was with Lewis in the box seat area.
"He saw a couple, stopped and said, 'What a wonderful day you had yesterday,' " Lukas said. "He told them, 'Congratulations.' I looked up what they had won. It was a $10,000 claimer. He left those people thinking they had just won the Santa Anita Derby. That's the kind of guy he was.
"Bob stood for everything that we would want in Thoroughbred racing. More importantly, he stood for everything we'd want in a human being."
Lewis was a director for the Oak Tree Racing Association, which leases Santa Anita for a race meeting each fall.
"He was one of the best directors we've ever had with Oak Tree," said Robbins. "That genuine friendliness with anyone and everyone, that deep assertive voice, that enthusiasm and energy and that eternal optimism, will not only be missed by Oak Tree but the entire industry. He was the epitome of success and humility in this great sport of ours."
Beverly Lewis spoke briefly, thanking Santa Anita for the tribute.
Jockeys Alex Solis, David Flores, Victor Espinoza, Corey Nakatani, and Patrick Valenzuela and retired Hall of Fame jockeys Eddie Delahoussaye, Laffit Pincay Jr., and Gary Stevens were present at the ceremony. All but Delahoussaye wore the Lewis family's familiar green and yellow hoop silks during the ceremony.
A funeral for Lewis will be held in Newport Beach, Calif., on Thursday.
Folklore won't make Santa Anita Oaks
Folklore, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2005, and the most recent champion that the Lewises campaigned, is not in serious training and will miss the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks on March 12, Lukas said over the weekend.
Folklore has made one start this year, finishing third by three-quarters of a length to stablemate Dance Daily in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes here on Jan. 16. The race was Folklore's first start since a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, a victory that clinched her title.
At the beginning of the year, Lukas had intended to start Folklore in the two Grade 1 races for 3-year-olds fillies at this meeting - the Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 11 and the Santa Anita Oaks. Instead, he is focusing on a summer campaign.
Outta Here euthanized
Outta Here, who won the Delta Jackpot Stakes in 2002 and finished seventh in the 2003 Kentucky Derby, was euthanized on Saturday after suffering complications from a surgery conducted in January, owner-trainer Bill Currin said.
Outta Here, 6, sustained a sesamoid injury during a workout at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20. He was at the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Los Olivos, Calif., at the time of his death.
"He had a major surgery about five weeks ago," Currin said. "He got an infection and he died. They did the best they could. I've lost a friend."
Currin co-owned Outta Here with Al Eisman. After the injury, Currin was hopeful that Outta Here could be saved for stud duty.
Outta Here won 3 of 28 starts and $657,167. His biggest win came in the Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. In the spring of 2003, he made one start before the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai.
Siren Lure will stretch out for graded stakes
Having extended his stakes winning streak to three races in Sunday's Daytona Handicap, Siren Lure will attempt something new this spring. Trainer Art Sherman plans to try the 5-year-old Siren Lure in what would be the richest race of his career, the $400,000 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile, a Grade 2 at a mile on turf at Golden Gate Fields on April 29.
Owned by a partnership, Siren Lure has been brilliant at about 6 1/2 furlongs on the Santa Anita hillside turf course, winning the Blue Jay Way and Impressive Luck handicaps in October and January. The Daytona Handicap was scheduled for turf but switched to dirt because of rain and run at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Siren Lure has never won a graded stakes, but finished fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Grade 2 Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap at a mile on turf last September.
"He ran a good race at Del Mar last year," Sherman said. "I think he would go a mile. I might take a shot. I think he's on his game. The timing is right; it gives me another two months."
Siren Lure, based at Bay Meadows, has won 9 of 16 starts and $336,781.