GIO PONTI MAKES BRILLIANT CLASSIC APPEARANCE
Nov 9th, 09
Castleton Lyons' Super Star Runs Close 2nd to Unstoppable Zenyatta!
Multiple G1 winner GIO PONTI (c. 4, Tale of the Cat - Chipeta Springs by Alydar) ran a fantastic race in the G1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita! Saving ground throughout, GIO PONTI split horses with his usual burst of speed in the stretch. He took over the lead at the eighth pole, drawing away from the others, only to be run down by the undefeated ZENYATTA in the final sixteenth and losing by only 1 length.
Some questioned the decision to run GIO PONTI in the Classic, as his specialty seemed to be the turf, winning 4 consecutive Grade 1's in a row on the lawn. His trainer, Christophe Clement, took the scrutiny in stride. "Of course, he has done so well on the grass and the question mark is the surface, but he has been able to overcome all year long and we have one more race to go. We have nothing to lose and can only gain by running in the Classic."
However, his brilliant turn of foot did not seem to be affected by the change in surface in the Classic. Clement was "thrilled with his race" as the colt went out and did everything he was asked to do by defeating the winners of the G1 Kentucky Derby, G1 Belmont, G1 Santa Anita Derby, G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, G1 Santa Anita Handicap, G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes, G1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Stakes, G1 Pacific Classic, and 2 winners of the G1 Travers, just to name a few!
GIO PONTI, who accomplished more than any other turf horse this year, should be a shoe-in for Champion Turf Horse, and his brilliant run in the Classic also sets him up for a possible title as Champion Older Male as well!