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Shirreffs higher on Giacomo
DEL MAR, Calif. - Two weeks after he revived his career with a dramatic win in the San Diego Handicap, Giacomo is on course for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 20. He worked six furlongs in 1:12.80 on Tuesday at Del Mar, a work that left trainer John Shirreffs enthusiastic about his chances later this month.
Shirreffs did not have that opinion of Giacomo in late June and early July.
"He's training very well right now. That's a plus," Shirreffs said. "For awhile, he was stuck at five-eighths. He's got his foundation under him now."
Giacomo worked alone Tuesday morning. Shirreffs said he timed Giacomo galloping out a mile in 1:39 and change.
The San Diego was Giacomo's first victory since his 50-1 in Kentucky Derby, ending a four-race losing streak.
Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Giacomo is likely to be the second choice in the Pacific Classic behind Lava Man, who is unbeaten in five starts this year, including the Santa Anita Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup. Other probable starters are Ace Blue, Good Reward, Magnum, Papi Chullo, Preachinatthebar, Perfect Drift, and Super Frolic.
Papi Chullo worked a mile in 1:42.80 at Del Mar on Tuesday, the only horse to work at that distance. Papi Chullo finished third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Giacomo, in the San Diego Handicap, but was disqualified and placed last for bothering a rival in early stretch.
"We consider that race to be a lost opportunity," said owner Greg Norman. He had hoped that Papi Chullo would sit behind the leaders in the first half of the race, but Papi Chullo raced closer to the front.
Norman said Papi Chullo needed a two-turn experience in Tuesday's workout. He said it is unclear who will ride Papi Chullo, but that a decision is expected at the beginning of next week.
Sadler's established and future stars
The last two races on Sunday's program represented the present and the future of trainer John Sadler's stable.
In the eighth race, Healthy Addiction, 5, won her third stakes of the year in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap. Owned by Pamela Ziebarth, Healthy Addiction is expected to be retired at the end of the year and bred to Tiznow in 2007.
The way that Healthy Addiction has run this year, including a game second in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park in July, it would seem ill-timed to retire her this year. But Sadler said that the end of the year is an ideal time. Healthy Addiction has earned $882,837, winning 9 of 21 starts.
"I thought this year would be enough," Sadler said. "She'll be 5 turning 6. She's a Grade 1 multiple stakes winner. Her resume is pretty good. I don't know what more she can do."
Sadler has expressed concern about Healthy Addiction's ability to ship and run well. Last year, she finished last of 13 in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park. Regarding the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs in November, Sadler said it is "not a flat no" that Healthy Addiction would be kept out of the race.
For her next start, she is likely to switch to turf in the $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Sept. 2. Healthy Addiction won the 2005 Osunitas Handicap over the Del Mar turf course.
In Sunday's last race, Sadler unveiled a 2-year-old filly who could be one to follow in important races in coming months. Jump on It beat maiden fillies by 5 1/4 lengths in her debut. Owned by CRK Stables, Jump on It was timed in 1:03.65 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 98, a high number for a 2-year-old filly.
The margin would have been wider had she been urged late by jockey Corey Nakatani. "I walked back to the test barn and she wasn't stressed," Sadler said. "She wasn't huffing and puffing."
Purchased for $410,000 at the Barretts May sale of 2-year-olds in-training, Jump on It will return in the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 4.
An indelible experience for Bello
Michael Bello, who campaigned the turf millionaire Megahertz in recent years, was back in the winner's circle at Del Mar on Sunday after Royal Price had won the fourth race.
He was far removed from the events of July, when Bello found himself in Beirut, Lebanon, at the start of the ongoing conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.
Bello, 51, a building contractor, had traveled to the Middle East to visit a Lebanese friend. He was three days into a 10-day journey when the fighting began.
"We were there for three days and the bombs began to fall," he said. "I could see the jets from over our hotel, bombing the airport."
After a few days of trying to organize a departure, Bello traveled to Syria and then to Jordan, before flying to Europe and onto the United States. "Once we got to Jordan, it was safe," Bello said. "It was a crazy deal to see bombs so close. You hear about, but to see it, it's nuts."
Bello's friend is a business associate from the United States, who splits his time between Beirut and the United States. The man's family lives on the north side of Beirut, which has not been as heavily affected by the bombings as the southern part of the city and southern part of the country.
Bello said his friend's home has not been affected by the fighting, but he said the memories of being that close to a war zone will not soon be forgotten.
"What an experience," he said.
Injuries continue to mar races
Go Bye Bye suffered injuries to her right front sesamoids Monday during the running of the third race and was put down. She is the 11th horse euthanized as a result of injuries suffered during racing or training since the meeting began July 19.
Go Bye Bye was contending for the lead in a sprint for $22,500 to $25,000 claimers when she was injured. She unseated jockey Victor Espinoza and ran loose down the backstretch before being caught. A 5-year-old mare, Go Bye Bye was owned by Tricar Stables and trained by Sal Gonzalez.
Go Bye Bye was the second horse euthanized Monday. Earlier in the day, Sheriff Jordan was euthanized as a result of injuries suffered during training.
Espinoza was booked to ride the Gonzalez-trained Elegant Pride in Monday's eighth race for maiden claimers, but took the mount off and was replaced by Saul Arias. Elegant Pride finished fourth.