Giacomo, the gray son of Holy Bull trained by Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss, won at 50-1, edging the McLaughlin-trained long shot Closing Argument.
After what happened Saturday on opposite coasts, the two trainers might have another shot at the world's most famous race May 6 at Churchill Downs.
A.P. Warrior, a huge disappointment in his first start of 2006 in the El Camino Real Derby at Bay Meadows, bounced back with a 7-1 surprise in the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The $1.3 million yearling purchase was making his first start for Shirreffs after owner Stan Fulton had taken the son of A.P. Indy away from Eoin Harty.
Hours earlier in New York, Like Now, a gelded son of Jules who is trained by McLaughlin, shocked Keyed Entry, Achilles of Troy and eight others, winning the $200,000 Gotham Stakes at 36-1. This was the first start in a graded stakes for the Florida-bred and the first time he had raced around two turns.
Both A.P. Warrior and Like Now will continue on the Kentucky Derby trail in the expected spots. A.P. Warrior will face Brother Derek in the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 8, and Like Now will try to stretch his speed an extra eighth of a mile in the $750,000 Wood Memorial on the same day at Aqueduct.
In the other two Derby preps Saturday, Lawyer Ron continued to show he is a legitimate threat with an impressive win in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The colt has won five in a row and will be heavily favored in the Arkansas Derby on April 15.
Meanwhile, Bluegrass Cat, the 2-5 favorite, was upset in the $250,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs by 8-1 shot Deputy Glitters. It was the first loss for the son of Storm Cat in five starts for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher also saw Keyed Entry lose for the first time in the Gotham, and another unbeaten will try to stay perfect Saturday. Strong Contender, who has won both his starts, will make his stakes debut in the $500,000 Lane's End at Turfway Park. The son of Maria's Mon is owned by John Oxley and trained by John Ward, who teamed to win the 2001 Kentucky Derby with Monarchos.
Bob Mieszerski writes for the Los Angeles Times.