|FRANK E. KILROE MILE H.|
Won at 4FRANK E. KILROE MILE H.
(gr. IT , 8f , defeating Ventura, Dixie Chatter, Global Hunter (ARG), Artiste Royal (IRE), Mr Napper Tandy (GB), Becrux (ITY), Victory Pete, Wise River, Hewitts ).
Gio Ponti became a millionaire and grade I winner in dramatic fashion as he ran down the ultra game mare Ventura at the wire to win the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr. IT) by a nose. The 4-year-old Tale of the Cat colt has now earned $1,005,800.
Trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti has run well in stakes company for the majority of his career. Other graded stakes victories to his credit include last yearÕs Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) as well as the Hill Prince (gr. IIIT) and Sir Beaufort (gr. III) Stakes. The bay colt came into the Kilroe off a fifth-place finish in the Feb. 7 Strub Stakes (gr. II), where he was beaten by only 11Ú2 lengths.
ÒWinning a grade I like this is a big achievement,Ó said ClementÕs assistant Nicholas Bachalard. ÒHe didnÕt run that bad his last race. He came into the race in good shape this time, and he ran very big.Ó
Gio Ponti races for Shane Ryan, who is the president of Castleton Lyons. RyanÕs late father, Tony Ryan, started Castleton Lyons near Lexington in the early part of this decade. Shane Ryan bred Gio Ponti in the name of his Kilboy Estate. The colt was offered at auction twice but failed to meet his reserve both times.
Gio Ponti is one of three stakes winners out of the stakes-placed Alydar 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). Bon Jovi Girl was a multiple stakes winner in 2008, and her juvenile full brother has been entered in the Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale.
Chipeta Springs, who is kept at Castleton Lyons, delivered a filly by farm stallion Bernstein three days before Gio PontiÕs grade I score. The 20-year-old mare is booked to UnbridledÕs Song.
Tale of the Cat is the sire of 56 stakes winners including additional 2009 added-money winners Alpha Kitten (gr. II) and Real Saga (Aus-III). The 15-year-old son of Storm Cat stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $30,000.ÑA.H.D.
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