Gio Ponti , the gutsy horse who finished second to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), will not be taking another shot at the super mare in this year’s race Nov. 6.
Shane Ryan, whose Castleton Lyons races the 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat , said in a release Nov. 1 that Gio Ponti instead will be entered in the TVG Mile (gr. IT). Goldikova is seeking to become the first horse to win three consecutive Breeders’ Cup races in the Mile.
"Having thought long and hard about our choices, we have decided to enter our dual champion in the Breeders’ Cup Mile," Ryan’s statement said. "As tempting as the Classic is, we were awed with his last trip over the mile course at Keeneland when winning the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT). It is due to this professional performance we feel we must take on the best milers in the world, including a showdown with Goldikova.
"I’m not sure which filly is more feared--Goldikova or Zenyatta. Either way neither race is a picnic. We are very much looking forward to the challenge. At this point we would like to wish all the connections in both races the very best of luck."
Trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti has won 11 of 22 starts, all on either grass or synthetic surfaces. The Classic would have been his first start on a conventional dirt surface. In addition to the Shadwell Turf Mile, Gio Ponti won the Man o’ War (gr. IT) this year.
Last year, he reeled off four consecutive grade I turf wins and was voted champion older male and champion male turf horse.