Sports Betting

'Picture-perfect' Tiago scores upset

ARCADIA, Calif. - Jerry and Ann Moss will head off to Kentucky with another relatively unknown colt with a music industry-inspired name.

The horse-owning couple think there's a difference this time. They think Tiago may be even better than half-brother Giacomo, their colt who won the 2005 Kentucky Derby as a 50-1 long shot.

"He had great acceleration in the stretch, like Giacomo, although this horse has a better turn of foot," Jerry Moss said after Tiago turned on the speed late to win yesterday's Santa Anita Derby.

"For this horse to do what he did in only his fourth race really amazed us. It shows he has a chance in Kentucky. We were just glad to be there with Giacomo."

Moss, a co-founder of A&M Records, named Tiago after the son of Sergio Mendes, and Giacomo after a son of Sting.

Mike Smith guided Tiago through an opening in the middle of the track and the colt blew past King of the Roxy to win by a half-length. Sam P. finished another 23/4 lengths farther back in third.

Tiago ran 11/8 miles in 1:49.51 on a gloomy, overcast afternoon.

Tiago, whose only victory in three previous starts came by a disqualification, paid $60.60, $23.80 and $10.

"He ran a picture-perfect race," Smith said of Tiago. "He finished today like Giacomo did in the Kentucky Derby.

"I'll tell you, at the eighth pole, he hit another gear."

Liquidity, the 5-2 favorite in the $750,000 race, briefly held the lead in the final turn before fading to finish fourth.

Giacomo, like Tiago out of dam Set Them Free, finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby two years ago before winning at Churchill Downs.

"We've never seen Tiago at his best in prior races, so we didn't know what to expect," said trainer John Shirreffs, who also saddled Giacomo. "We were just taking a shot, taking a chance and hoping the horse would do something great."

King of the Roxy and Sam P. both are trained by Todd Pletcher, who has several horses considered contenders in the Run for the Roses.

"Both horses ran very well," said Michael McCarthy, an assistant to Pletcher. "Obviously it was a tough beat, but that's the way it goes. I think (King of the Roxy) put to rest distance limitations by the way he ran. Sam P. ran very well."

Rounding out the finish at Santa Anita were Bwana Bull, Medici Code, Court the King, Black Seventeen, Boutrous and Level Red.

Although past winners of the 3-year-old showcase at Santa Anita have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, that hasn't been the case in recent years. The last to win both was Sunday Silence 18 years ago.

Over the past decade, however, horses that were beaten in the Santa Anita Derby -- like Giacomo -- went on to win the Run for the Roses.

Silver Charm finished second at Santa Anita in 1997 and won at Churchill Downs. Real Quiet finished second the following year before winning the Kentucky Derby. Charismatic, like Giacomo, ran fourth at the Arcadia track before winning in Kentucky in 1999.