05/21/2007 11:00PM

Tiago works for Belmont


Three times in the last four years, the winner of the Belmont Stakes ran in the Kentucky Derby then skipped the Preakness Stakes in order to come into the Belmont fresh. It worked with Jazil. It worked with Birdstone. It worked with Empire Maker. And trainer John Shirreffs is hoping the strategy works for Tiago, who was kept out of the Preakness following his late-running seventh-place finish in the Derby.

After the Derby, Tiago returned to Hollywood Park, where Shirreffs is based. On Tuesday, Tiago worked three furlongs in 36.80 seconds with exercise rider Frankie Herrarte aboard in preparation for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

Tiago worked farther last week and will have another longer work at the end of this week. Tuesday's work, Shirreffs said, "was a work preparing him for his next work."

"His big work is coming up," Shirreffs said. "He had just worked five days ago, but because of the shipping arrangements we had to make to get him to New York, I couldn't wait and work him later. It just wouldn't have come out right. Things would have been out of synch. So I gave him a little work. This way, he can have a longer work when I want him to at the end of the week."

Shirreffs said Tiago is scheduled to leave for New York on Tuesday, May 29. He said Tiago would have his final work for the Belmont at Belmont Park six days before the race. Mike Smith, who has ridden Tiago in his last two starts, has the mount.

In his first start with Smith, Tiago won the Santa Anita Derby as a 29-1 longshot before heading to Kentucky. In the Derby, his fifth career start, Tiago was the ninth choice of 20 at 14-1. He finished two lengths behind Curlin, who was third in the Derby and then won the Preakness. Tiago caught the eye with an impressive gallop-out that carried him in front of Street Sense about midway around the clubhouse turn after the race.

"He came out of the race very well," Shirreffs said.

Tiago, who was bred and is owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, is a half-brother to Giacomo, the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner. Giacomo ran in all three Triple Crown races that year. He was third in the Preakness, then seventh in the Belmont in what proved to be his final start of that year.