Dual Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti is expected to defend his title in the $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) July 10 at Belmont Park. The 5-year-old horse, who has lost all three of his starts this season, worked five furlongs in 1:02 July 1 for trainer Christophe Clement in preparation for the race.
Interpatation, winner of the 2009 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) when upsetting Gio Ponti, is also gearing up for a run in the 11-furlong Man o’ War. Trainer Bobby Barbara likes the 8-year-old’s chances.
“He’s doing very well. I feel he’s going to get a piece of this pie, and before the end of the year, he’s going to win one of the big ones,” Barbara said.
According to NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, Bearpath, most recently second in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT); Expansion, third to Winchester and Gio Ponti in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT); Grand Couturier, seventh in the Manhattan, and Mission Approved, most recently second in an optional claimer, and Midnight Silver are being pointed to the Man o’ War.