Giacosa salvages rough day for Bonds, City Man gives Reeves’ a double in West Point

Friday, August 27th, 2021

Giacosa storms from off the pace to win Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga. Susie Raisher/NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Jim and Tina Bond could only shake their heads. Well, sort of.

Walking the aisle between the first two rows of the clubhouse boxes after Giacosa provided the family stable with some salve following a circumstantial defeat two races prior, the Bonds let their feelings known without letting their feelings known. Tina led off, the first to reach the steps to the winner’s circle.

“Finally, finally,” she said. “What a game. They should have never went to challenge that guy though. But they did.”

Jim followed up, just a bit more diplomatically.

“Momma always said, if you can’t anything nice don’t say anything,” he said after Giacosa won the $150,000 Yaddo Handicap to close the stakes portion of Friday’s New York Showcase Day card. The homebred Tizway filly won by three-quarters of a length over last year’s Yaddo winner Myhartblongstodady and about an hour after the Bond Stable’s Rinaldi was hooked and cooked on the lead in the $150,000 West Point Stakes.

“But I’m Italian, so I just keep blabbing,” Tina Bond said as the couple met friends and partners on the entrance to the winner’s circle.

Giacosa followed her victory on the second day of the meet in a state-bred optional claimer on the grass with her Yaddo win, both under leading rider Luis Saez. She won in 1:42.54 with her fourth win in 11 starts to go with two seconds and a third for $255,590.

Foaled and raised at the Bond’s Mechanicville-based Song Hill Thoroughbreds, which co-bred the filly with Roderick Towle, Giacosa improved to 3-for-4 on the Saratoga turf.

“She’s been telegraphing it,” Jim Bond said of the filly’s readiness for her return to stakes competition. “She’s probably a little better two-turn horse, she got lost at Belmont. A lot of my horses got lost at Belmont the way the spring was. She’s got a nice pedigree, her sisters can run, her mother was a nice filly. We’re blessed to have her and she was telling me she was right.”

“Luis turned the page for me for the race before. That’s the way the game is. It beats you up one minute and every once in a while you get a breather and they say, ‘stay in the game a little longer dummy.’ ”

The beating came in the West Point. Rinaldi, 4-5 in the field of seven coming off a front-running victory in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple, and Saez were joined on the lead by a hustling Jose Ortiz and Microsecond from the get-go. The two ripped through early fractions of :22.9, :46.35 and 1:11.19 that took a toll, first on Microsecond and eventually on Rinaldi while City Man closed from just off the pace and held off stablemate Therapist to win by a nose.

Rinaldi wound up fifth, beaten 6 lengths in his West Point title defense. Microsecond, so eager for the lead he broke open the stall door before the start of the West Point, wound up eased and more than 50 lengths back.

Giacosa saved the day and turned the frowns upside down.

The fifth foal out of the New York-bred Smart Strike mare Smart Engagement, who Bond bought as a yearling for $30,000 and trained to two wins and a second for $61,030 in earnings. She’s the dam of three full sisters to Giacosa – stakes-placed $236,150-earner Tizzelle, two-time winner and $128,132-earner Way Smart and winner Tizengaginglysmart – along with the 3-year-old Mineshaft filly Gallina who finished third in a state-bred maiden claimer July 21 at Saratoga.

“Big time win,” Bond said. “We have her sisters, all in foal to good stallions at the farm and now she has a home for the rest of her life. We’re lucky. Here at Saratoga we’ve been a little cold. We started out pretty hot and boy oh boy, we hit a lull. We have some more to fire with and Luis has given me a lot of calls, so I think we could win a couple more hopefully.”

Giacosa’s victory capped the six stakes on the 11-race Showcase Day card that produced a paid crowd of 28,492, on-track handle of $4,191,738 and an all-sources handle of $24,231,854.

“This day is important because it enables us to highlight our state’s breeders, owners, horsemen and every participant in the New York-bred program,” said Najja Thompson, Executive Director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. “Since the inaugural Saratoga New York-bred Showcase Day in 2014, this day has only continued to grow. Not only in the purses offered showing the strength and incentives of the New York-bred program, but also the quality of equine athletes on display.

“We’re happy to continue partnering with NYRA to showcase the best of the Empire State on each of our three New York-bred Showcase days throughout the year and especially here at Saratoga.”

City Man (left) edges Therapist to win West Point Stakes on New York Showcase Day Friday at Saratoga. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

• Dean Reeves loved what he saw in Hip 1069 at the 2019 OBS April 2-year-olds in training sale. He was perhaps a bit biased looking at offspring of Mucho Macho Man, who he campaigned to a 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic victory and a career with more than $5.6 million in earnings, but he wasn’t shy spending $180,000 for a colt from the stallion’s second crop.

Later that year he won the Funny Cide Stakes – a race Reeves and Darlene Bilinski won Friday with Senbei – and last year City Man toppled open company in the Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct. He added another victory to his ledger in the West Point, taking advantage of a early hot pace battle between Rinaldi and Microsecond on the way to a narrow victory over stablemate Therapist.

Campaigned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Peter and Patty Searles, City Man won the 1 1/16-mile turf stakes by a nose in 1:41.30 for his fourth victory in 15 starts. Bred by Moonstar Farm and out of the City Zip mare City Scamper, City Man won for the first time in four starts this season for Christophe Clement.

“At the time when I bought him I was not as involved in the New York situation as I am today. … I love this program,” Reeves said. “I just loved him at the OBS Sale and, of course, being by Mucho Macho Man, I thought this horse would develop. We just recently purchased his (weanling) full sister, who looks just like him. He has developed into a really nice horse as a 4-year-old and I think we’ve got some really nice racing ahead.”

City Man started his career on the main track, winning a Saratoga maiden and the Funny Cide and finishing a close the Bertram F. Bongard before taking on open company and finishing fourth in the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct in early December 2019 to close out his 2-year-old season. He’s run in seven grass races in 10 subsequent starts over two seasons, including a close fourth in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, the win in the Gio Ponti and a second in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy in his 2021 debut May 1 at Belmont Park.

“People forget my horse had a really good race in the Fort Marcy when he finished second,” Clement said. “It was a great race. Then I was very disappointed in the Manhattan. He ran flat and when he came back, he wasn’t training well afterwards. It took me a while to get him back, but now he’s back, and I am very happy with it. He’s a good horse.”

City Man prepped for the West Point with a seventh as the favorite in an open optional at 9 furlongs on the grass Aug. 6. Clement also gave him a wake-up 5-furlong breeze in :59.90 Aug. 18.

“I’m proud of both horses, they really came to run,” Reeves said. “I really felt good about City Man because he had worked so well last time out on the dirt. It was 59 and change and he did it with ease. I felt good about that. Senbei, I didn’t know what to expect, but he put on a show.

This is so special for City Man to win this for Mucho Macho Man. He ran really well in the Grade 2 and then we just had two down days, but he’s got to break well. He’s got to be in the game. I think he doesn’t get tired, but he’s not quite as quick footed to finish, but if you’ve got him out there you’ll have a hard time running him down.”

City Man is one of two winners out of City Scamper, a half-sister to New York stakes winner Alysinstilettos and stakes-placed Always For You. He was a productive pinhook for Off The Hook, which purchased City Man for $20,000 as a weanling at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale. He next went through the ring at OBS April and brought $185,000 from Reeves.

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