Weather played an unexpected role when turf standout Gio Ponti won the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. III), a race transferred from the grass to Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Given a freshening since then, he takes the next step on the main track in the $250,000 Strub (gr. II) Feb. 7.
The grade III Sir Beaufort Stakes Dec. 26 was downgraded to ungraded status after being switched to the main track, but after being reviewed by the American Graded Stakes Committee, the original status was reinstated.
Favored Gio Ponti waited for room under a patient Garrett Gomez and blasted through the pack mid-stretch to win the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes going away in a race taken off the Santa Anita Park turf course and transferred to the Pro-Ride main surface Dec. 26.
Gio Ponti, attempting to make amends after a troubled trip as the choice in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) a month ago, figures to draw considerable attention in a contentious field for the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Santa Anita opening day program Dec. 26.
Jockey Mike Smith, trainer John Shirreffs, and owners/breeders Jerry and Ann Moss have one trip to the Hollywood Park winner's circle guaranteed. They are hoping for a second with Madeo following the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 30.
IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm's Court Vision, who lost to Gio Ponti by a nose in the July 19 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT), turned the tables on his rival Oct. 4 in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT), as the son of Gulch edged in front in mid-stretch and went on win by a three parts of a length on the Belmont turf.
Castleton Lyons' Gio Ponti, who has established himself as one of the top 3-year-old turf runners in the nation this year, looks to return to his winning ways when he takes on six sophomores in the $250,000 Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT) Oct. 4 at Belmont Park.
Madeo, justifying the faith trainer John Shirreffs has shown in him, overtook pacesetter Tangled Tango in deep stretch to post a handy upset in the $350,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Aug. 31.
Winner of the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) in his last start, Gio Ponti switches coasts for New York-based trainer Christophe Clement and takes a shot at the best the California 3-year-old turf division has to offer in the $350,000 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) Aug. 31.
Gio Ponti got the nose decision over Court Vision in the $772,500 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) in a tremendous stretch run over the Colonial Downs turf course July 19, spoiling favored Sailor's Cap's shot at a $5 million bonus.
Hosted by Jason Shandler and Tom LaMarra, "That Handicapping Show" is a weekly video show dedicated to horse players. Jason and special guest Evan Hammonds take a look at the Virginia Derby. Plus, picks from John Pricci of Equiform.
Gio Ponti, off for more than seven months and making his 3-year-old debut, rallied from last to take the $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) by two lengths under Garrett Gomez June 6 on the Belmont turf.
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