Giacosa outslugs Classic Lady in Mount Vernon

Monday, May 30th, 2022

Giacosa improves her record at Belmont and wins Monday’s Mount Vernon to kick off the stakes on Big Apple Showcase Day. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Everyone knows Giacosa loves Saratoga – her connections, rival connections, horseplayers, even the most casual fans who can read her record of 4-3-0-0 up at the old Spa.

Belmont Park felt like a different story heading into Monday’s $125,000 Mount Vernon to kick off the stakes action on the Big Apple Showcase Day card. The 5-year-old Tizway mare’s record read completely different at Belmont, with just one win in six starts to go with a second and a third.

Bettors read it and sent Giacosa off the 6-1 fourth choice of six in the Mount Vernon – in her first start in more than six months – but she proved her record misleading and the others flat wrong with a gritty victory over Classic Lady in the 1-mile stakes for older female New York-breds. Giacosa won by a nose over Classic Lady under a well-timed ride from Luis Saez in 1:34.05 over the firm Widener Turf Course.

“She had been training well,” said Ryan Bond, assistant to his father and trainer Jim Bond. “Even at her 3- and 4-year-old year, she worked well but wasn’t a standout in the morning on dirt. She was working really well into this race and she proved that she was ready for it.

“She can kick on those tight turns [at Saratoga], it doesn’t seem to bother her on the big turns or the small turns. She just gives it her ‘A’ game every time.”

Giacosa’s victory in the Mount Vernon – worth $68,750 for Bond Racing Stable – proved every bit on the ‘A’ level to her most recent win in the Yaddo Handicap on Saratoga Showcase Day in late August. She came from off the pace in that 1 1/16-mile turf stakes to win by three-quarters of a length over Myhartblongstodady with Classic Lady third.

Giacosa raced a little closer to the pace this time, running behind free-running Classic Lady and She’s the One through the opening 6 furlongs in 1:11.13, before launching a wide bid around the far turn. Classic Lady, also making her first start of the year, still led into the stretch before being confronted first by She’s the One and then by Giacosa to her outside.

“We know she came from the layoff and we know she has a good turn of foot,” Saez said. “The only worry was the time she was off, but we just broke and took a little hold to be patient. When we came to the top of the stretch, she just gave me that little move. We just kept battling and she got there. That was an exciting race.”

Jockey Luis Saez and Giacosa’s connections celebrate her latest victory in the Mount Vernon. NYRA Photo.

Giacosa kept after the leader in the lane before edging just enough clear at the finish. The first two were 1 1/2 lengths clear of She’s the One, making her stakes debut, in third. Silky Blue, 7-5 favorite Runaway Rumour and Pop the Bubbly completed the field.  Giacosa improved to 5-for-14 with the victory, to go with three seconds and a third, for $356,340 in earnings.

Bred by the Bond family’s Song Hill Thoroughbreds and Roderick Towle and foaled at Song Hill Thoroughbreds in Mechanicville, Giacosa is out of the winning New York-bred Smart Strike mare Smart Engagement. Purchased by Jim Bond, agent, for $30,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale, Smart Engagement won two of four starts for the partnership of Mandaclair Stable and Tina Bond from 2008 to 2010 before joining the family’s broodmare band.

Giacosa is the fifth foal out of Smart Engagement and a full sister to the stakes-placed $236,150-earner Tizzelle, two-time winner and $128,132-earner Way Smart and winner Tizengaginglysmart. Smart Engagement is also the dam of the New York-bred 4-year-old Mineshaft filly Gallina, who is 2-2-2 in 11 starts for $110,425 in earnings.

Giacosa finished sixth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Classic Lady, in the Ticonderoga Stakes last fall at Belmont before a close second in open company in the Forever Together Stakes at Aqueduct in late November to close her 2021 campaign.

Ryan Bond said a long-range target could be a defense of her title in the $200,000 Yaddo on Aug. 26 at Saratoga. Considering the way Giacosa ran in her debut that start and others down the road give Saez reason for optimism.

“She looked way better now. She’s grown and is more mature,” he said. “Today, she made that move right there and kept going. It’s great to have her back.

“It’s always a blessing for me to be a part of (Bond’s) team. He’s a wonderful guy and always gave me the opportunity and keeps giving me them. I’m so grateful to ride for him and win this stake for him. It’s big for me.”

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