|WOODFORD RESERVE MANHATTAN H.|
Won at 4WOODFORD RESERVE MANHATTAN H.
(gr. IT , 10f , defeating Marsh Side, Better Talk Now, Court Vision, Cosmonaut, Interpatation, Lauro (GER), Wesley, Cowboy Cal, Zambezi Sun (GB), Optimer (ARG), Senior ).
On June 6 at Belmont Park, Castleton LyonsÕ Gio Ponti put together bookend grade I turf victories by scoring a solid 11Ú2-length victory in the $400,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at 10 furlongs.
The win comes on the heels of Gio PontiÕs score March 7 in the one-mile Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap at Santa Anita, and underscoring this one-run closerÕs unique ability to win high-profile races at substantially differing distances.
A half-mile into the Woodford Reserve Manhattan, the 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat, out of the Alydar mare Chipeta Springs, was last in the field of 12.
But the Christophe Clement-trained runner swung five-wide into the stretch behind fast fractions (an opening mile in 1:37.42), and closed strongly through the lane beneath jockey Garrett Gomez.
ÒI watched the race with (fellow trainers) Barclay Tagg and Frank Alexander,Ó said Clement, who first got excited about his chargeÕs chances when track announcer Tom Durkin emphasized his name on the far turn. ÒI was acting very cool on the outside (during the stretch run).Ó
Seizing the lead in the final 100 yards, Gio Ponti, who carried co-highweight of 120 pounds, stopped the timer in 2:02.91 over the yielding inner turf course.
The victory was Kilboy EstateÕs Kentucky-bred Gio PontiÕs seventh win from 12 starts, increasing his earnings to $1,245,800.
ÒWe have two grade IÕs with him now, on the West Coast and the East Coast. (The victories) go out to my father and brother, who passed away in the last 18 months. TheyÕve got a grade I each,Ó said Shane Ryan, president of Castleton Lyons. ÒWe thought breeding to the Storm Cat line would be an ideal opportunity and give us something well balanced. The mare is back in foal to Bernstein, who is also a son of Storm Cat and resides at our stallion station (in Lexington). So the Storm Cat line will continue to work for us, hopefully.Ó
Robert EvansÕ Marsh Side, from the barn of trainer Neil Drysdale, launched a four-wide bid at the quarter pole and finished second. Bushwood StablesÕ 10-year-old gelding Better Talk Now garnered the minor spoils in third position.
Gio Ponti is one of three stakes winners out of the stakes-placed mare Chipeta Springs, who is also the dam of added-money winners Fisher Pond (by A.P. Indy) and Bon Jovi Girl (by Malibu Moon).
Chipeta Springs delivered a filly by Bernstein on March 4. The 20-year-old mare is booked to UnbridledÕs Song.
Tale of the Cat is the sire of 58 stakes winners, including additional 2009 added-money winners Alpha Kitten (gr. II), Real Saga (Aust-II), Nursery Rhyme, and Tale to be Told. Tale of the Cat stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for $30,000.ÑP.V.
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