Giacomo might not have been the most impressive winner trainer John Shirreffs had Saturday.
Not to take anything from the 3-year-old that shocked the world in the Kentucky Derby, but his effort was nothing compared to what Hollywood Story did in the $108,300 Hawthorne Handicap at Hollywood Park.
The 9-10 favorite against six other fillies and mares, Hollywood Story nearly went down in the first turn of the Grade III race when she clipped heels, but, after jockey Victor Espinoza managed to stay on board, she rallied from well off the pace to win going away.
Owned by George Krikorian, the 4-year-old daughter of Wild Rush won for the third time in four main track starts at Hollywood Park, completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.42.
Siphon Honey, the second longest shot in the field at 13-1, finished second, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner and 1 1/4 lengths in front of House Of Fortune, the 4-1 second choice. Muir Beach, Fencelineneighbor, Cissy (who caused the problems the winner encountered) and Quero Quero completed the order of finish.
"I think this should clinch trainer of the week for John in Thoroughbred Times," Krikorian said, referring to an industry publication. "I couldn't really see what happened to her in the first turn, but I could hear it. I probably should be glad that I didn't see it. For her to come back and win the race shows what kind of talent she has."
Espinoza felt as if there had been some divine intervention.
"A lot of times you may not believe in religion, but when it comes to something like this, I feel like God protected me in this race," he said. "I was totally surprised when [Cissy] came out into me on the first turn.
"Luckily, I had a strong hold on my horse. As soon as we clipped heels, she pulled my whole body to the front. My chest hit her neck. Then she pushed me back into the saddle. I saw the ground so close to my head that I could have reached out and touched it. Luckily, I was able to maintain my balance or I would have hit the ground."
As the Kentucky Derby field approached the stretch, the video from Churchill Downs was lost for a short time at Hollywood Park and some other inter-track wagering sites, including Del Mar, Ventura and Santa Barbara, leading to some boos from the large on-track crowd in Inglewood.
The glitch was blamed on problems with the satellite transmission from Louisville, Ky. There were no problems with the video at Santa Anita.