Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gio Ponti Much the Best in Arlington Million

Gio Ponti Much the Best in Arlington Million
Gio Ponti powers home in the Arlington Million.

Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti notched his fourth consecutive grade I victory Aug. 8 at Arlington Park, as he rolled to a 1 1/4-length win in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) (VIDEO) under Ramon Dominguez.

A 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat , Gio Ponti solidified himself as the top turf horse in the country with his convincing score over a tough field, one that put him over the $2-million mark in career earnings. It was the ninth win in 14 lifetime starts for the bay colt and his seventh graded stakes triumph. He also earned an automatic berth to the Nov. 7 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita and the Japan Cup (Jpn-I).
Christophe Clement, one of the nation’s best turf trainers for years, collected his first Arlington Million win.
"We were very patient with (Gio Ponti) when he was a 3-year-old and he keeps maturing and is a better 4-year-old,” said Clement. "There are many good races around and he could go in any one of them. Let’s just enjoy today.”
A confirmed closer, Gio Ponti stumbled coming out of the gate but quickly recovered and received a solid pace to run at in the 1 1/4-mile Million, as speedy Presious Passion broke away from the field of eight and posted fractions of :23.88, :48.44 and 1:14.23 under Elvis Trujillo. Gloria de Campeao, Einstein and Mr. Sidney stalked the pace through the backstretch, while Gio Ponti raced mid-pack. Presious Passion, the United Nations (gr. IT) winner last month at Monmouth Park, opened up a 10-length lead after a half-mile.
Gio Ponti’s lone setback in five starts in 2009 came in his season debut when he finished fifth in the Feb. 7 Strub (gr. I) on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface. Since then, he has rolled to grade I turf wins in the Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, and the Manhattan and Man ‘o War handicaps, both at Belmont. He has now earned $2,133,800.
Bred in Kentucky by Shane Ryan’s Kilboy Estate, which is part of Castleton Lyons’ powerful Irish-based operation, Gio Ponti is out of the Alydar mare Chipeta Springs.
Sent off as the 3-2 favorite, the winner paid $5, $3.40, and $2.60. The exacta (6-3) returned $72.20 and the trifecta (6-3-4) was $889.20.