'Giacomo' Wins Kentucky Derby

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Not this time, Nick. Not even with five horses.

Giacomo defied the odds and won the $2.4 million Kentucky Derby in a gigantic upset Saturday, running down a game Afleet Alex in the final strides and generating a huge payoff.

Even though trainer Nick Zito had five horses in the field of 20, including the favorite, George Steinbrenner's Bellamy Road, this Derby belonged to a 3-year-old colt who had won just once in seven races.

Giacomo, who always managed to stay in contention, finished second in the Santa Anita Derby, and trainer John Shirreffs was confident his colt would run well in the 1-1/4-mile Derby.

Did he ever.

The horse, named for the rock star Sting's 9-year-old son, was ridden by Mike Smith, who, at long last, grabbed his first Derby victory in his 12th attempt. Smith was also aboard Holy Bull, Giacomo's sire, when he finished 12th in the 1994 Derby.

Bellamy Road never mounted a serious threat in the Derby, the richest ever run.

Closing Argument, another long shot, finished second with Afleet Alex third in the largest Derby field since 20 started in 1984.

The wild results produced the second-highest win payoff in Derby history. Giacomo returned $102.60 on a $2 win ticket. The Derby record is $184.90 by Donerail in 1913.
  • William Vitka

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