LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The jockeys on trainer Nick Zito's (search) five horses in the Kentucky Derby went in with high hopes, but none finished better than seventh.
Bellamy Road (search), the 5-2 favorite, was the biggest disappointment.
"He seemed to handle the track well, but he just didn't have it," Javier Castellano (search) said of his colt's seventh-place finish.
Andromeda's Hero, the longest-price among the five at 57-1, ran the best race. He rallied from 16th to get eighth with Rafael Bejarano aboard.
"He finished strong," Bejarano said. "He was coming."
High Fly, the Florida Derby winner, was 10th after taking a slim lead at the top of the stretch for Jerry Bailey.
"I inched my way between horses," Bailey said. "They swamped me so bad I don't know where I finished."
Noble Causeway never settled for Gary Stevens and finished 14th. "He would not relax for me at all," Stevens said.
Sun King was 15th for Edgar Prado. "He was running OK for a while, but he had no finish," Prado said.
Numbers Don't Produce Wins
Like Zito, Todd Pletcher believed there was strength in numbers in the Kentucky Derby.
Pletcher saddled three. Flower Alley was ninth, Coin Silver 12th, with Bandini, the Blue Grass winner, the biggest failure, 19th.
"We're obviously disappointed with Bandini," Pletcher said. "Johnny (Velazquez) said he could never get him to settle in."
Velazquez felt his colt was never comfortable.
"We had a good position early but he didn't take to getting hit with the dirt, at all," Velazquez said.
Flower Alley raced close to the very quick pace set by Spanish Chestnut.
"The only thing I was disappointed in was that we got behind Spanish Chestnut," Pletcher said. "Of all the horses you want to follow, Spanish Chestnut is not one of them."
Coin Silver never got into the hunt after a slow start
"Coin Silver didn't break great, but he got the kind of trip from that point on that I thought he needed," Pletcher said.
Giacomo wasn't the only overlooked horse to run well in the Derby.
Closing Argument, 72-1, rallied to take a short lead in the stretch and finished second, only a half length behind Giacomo.
"It was the thrill of a lifetime in an eighth of a mile," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "He's one hell of a horse who might now start getting some respect."
McLaughlin, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five years ago, made his Derby debut.
Third in the Blue Grass Stakes, Closino Argument rallied from sixth in the Derby under Cornelio Velasquez.
"I had a lot of horse," Velasquez said. "I think he ran very hard. He was in perfect condition today."
The rabbit ran his race.
Spanish Chestnut was entered in the Derby by owners Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor to insure a rapid pace. They wanted to set up a rally by their other runner, Bandini.
Spanish Chestnut upheld his end of the bargain.
With Joe Bravo aboard, Spanish Chestnut set an impossibly fast clip. He set the pace through a half-mile in an unreasonable 45.38 seconds.
He eventually faded to sixteenth.
"He was out there like he was supposed to be," Bravo said of his first Derby ride. "He ran hard."
The strategy bombed as Bandini, the third choice in the betting, did not take advantage. He finished 19th.
Attention to Detail
Even before they got treated to the Kentucky Derby, infantry soldiers from Fort Campbell believed they were special.
"Why is the sky blue?" Sgt. Josh Camp asked Cpl. Jacob Snyder, both of C Company, 2-327th Infantry Battalion. They were enjoying a Derby Week press party, one of the many festivities leading up to the 131st Kentucky Derby.
"Because God loves the infantry," Snyder replied, grinning. Many times he's repeated this answer about the infantry's traditional color.
Plenty of blue sky showed at Derby, when Camp, Snyder, and eight other soldiers from the 327th, were the official escorts for the garland of roses that would be draped over Derby winner Giacomo. The detail carried the garland in its glass case from the grandstand to the winner's circle.
The Thoroughbred Thank You Fund, started by Terry Finley, military veteran and president of West Point Thoroughbreds, footed the bill for a few hundred soldiers, including the 10-man rose garland detail. Finley, a West Point grad, was able to raise about $50,000, he said, and is already preparing to bring another group to next year's Derby.
"I can't believe how cool this was," officer in charge Capt. Cory Steele said earlier in the week. "It's nice to see the service is appreciated."
The crowd of 156,435 was second highest in Derby history. ... Giacomo was the 98th Derby winner bred in Kentucky ... Giacomo was the third gray or roan to win the race. ... Jockey Mike Smith won his first Derby on his 12th try. ...The Oaks-Derby double of Summerly and Giacomo paid $595.20. ... Giacomo was the 10th winner from post 10.