|MAN O' WAR S.|
Won at 4MAN O' WAR S.
(gr. IT , 11f , defeating Musketier (GER), Quijano (GER), Chinchon (IRE), Grand Couturier (GB), Marsh Side, Interpatation, Dancing Forever, Midships ).
Gio Ponti was a stakes winner at 2 and a graded stakes winner at 3. But, at 4, he has reached the summitÉand remained there. He won the Man oÕ War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park July 11, his third straight grade I victory on turf.
The 4-year-old Tale of the Cat colt, owned by Castleton Lyons and bred by the farm in the name Kilboy Estate, ran fifth in his first start this year, beaten only 11Ú2 lengths on Santa AnitaÕs synthetic main track in the Strub Stakes (gr. II). Switched back to the turf by trainer Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti won the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT) at Santa Anita in March before shipping east to Belmont.
On Belmont Stakes day (June 6), Gio Ponti won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) with a wide late-closing move and he did the same thing in the Man oÕ War. Drawing clear under Ramon Dominguez in the Man oÕ War, Gio Ponti was winning his eighth start in 13 races and increased his earnings to $1,545,800.
Gio Ponti is out of the 20-year-old Alydar mare Chipeta Springs, who also liked the turf, running third in the Azalea Handicap on the grass at Remington Park in 1994. Chipeta Springs is also the dam of Fisher Pond (by A.P. Indy), who won the Lawrence Realization Stakes at Belmont in 2002.
After producing Gio Ponti, Chipeta Springs had a filly by Malibu Moon that was sold at the 2007 Keeneland September sale for $190,000. Named Bon Jovi Girl, she also is a stakes winner this year, having won the SusanÕs Girl Stakes at Delaware Park.
Chipeta Springs has an unraced juvenile full brother to Bon Jovi Girl that has yet to be named but is in training with Clement and will carry the dark green Castleton Lyons colors. The mare does not have a yearling, not having been bred in 2007. This year she produced a filly by Bernstein that will be retained by Castleton Lyons.
The mare was bred this year to UnbridledÕs Song but did not get in foal and on July 3 was covered by Bernstein.
Another solid turf runner in the family is Gio PontiÕs second dam, the Argentine-bred Salt Marsh mare Salt Spring. She was a group I winner in Argentina before being imported to the United States where she was a graded stakes winner and was group I-stakes placed.
As so often happens, a horse that is bought back turns out to be a good runner. Gio Ponti was bought back as a yearling on a bid of $95,000 at the Keeneland September sale and as a 2-year-old on a bid of $45,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.
Chipeta Springs was bought by Castleton Lyons at the 2002 Keeneland November sale in foal to GiantÕs Causeway when consigned by Gallardia, agent. The mare went through the ring at the 2005 Keeneland January sale in foal to Tale of the Cat carrying Gio Ponti. Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, to dissolve a partnership, she was purchased by Castleton Group for $250,000.
Gio Ponti is one of 60 stakes winners sired by Tale of the Cat, who stands at CoolmoreÕs Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. He is represented this year by seven stakes winners, the others including grade I winner Cat Move, grade II winner Alpha Kitten, and group II winner Real Saga. Tale of the Cat stood this year for $30,000 and will shuttle to Coolmore Australia and stand for approixmately the same fee.ÑD.M.L.
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