on 02/11/2015 3:47 AM

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February 11, 2015
Renowned pedigree consultant and industry expert, Bill Oppenheim had this to say in today's Thoroughbred Daily News regarding first runners for freshman sires in 2015:
"There are plenty of worthy candidates, but GIO PONTI, who went to stud for $20,000 in 2012 and is now down to $15,000, is my number one pick. There are two reasons I really like this horse. First is his form: he ran 29 times over five seasons, never more than seven races a year; great training performance by Christophe Clement. So he was very durable, and he had class as well: at four, five, and six he won seven Grade I races and was second in seven more. In 24 turf starts he won 11, and was nine times second. As a 4-year-old he ran second to Zenyatta in the GI Breeders' Cup Classic on the synthetic; as a 5-year-old he ran second to Goldikova in the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Mile. So he was versatile as well. The other reason I like Gio Ponti so much is that two other American turf sires, F2007 Kitten's Joy and F2009 English Channel, have made sires, and Gio Ponti was certainly in the same class, at least, as a racehorse. There is much more turf racing in America than there used to be, so even if he proves to be a better turf/synthetic sire, there will be lots of opportunities for a sire like this that didn't exist 20 years ago. And, given the success of Kitten's Joy and English Channel, Europeans and other international buyers are much more in tune with the possibilities of American turf horses with this much class. As far as I can tell, the whole anti-American drug argument is a convenient cop-out in this respect for those who don't want to come to America to buy for other reasons; the overseas runners by Kitten's Joy and English Channel seem just fine without Lasix. But I digress; the point is that Gio Ponti was a horse with tremendous class, outstanding form, and three Eclipse Awards. It doesn't hurt either that the Ryan family, which owns Castleton Lyons, will race a few by Gio Ponti in Europe."
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