Champion Gio Ponti faces 8 in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup.

Champion Gio Ponti faces 8 in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup.

Four Footed Fotos

Dual Champion Gio Ponti Returns at Tampa Bay

Champion older male and champion male turf horse makes first 2010 start

Gio Ponti , the 2009 Eclipse Award winner as older male and male turf horse, will make his first start of 2010 on Feb. 20 when he contests the $150,000 Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup, a 1 1/16 miles turf test for 4-year-olds and up.

The race at Tampa Bay Downs will be the first for Gio Ponti since the 5-year-old son of Tale of the Cat , finished second to champion mare Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Owned by Castleton Lyons and trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti has earned more than $3.1 million, with grade I victories in the Arlington Million, the Man O’ War Stakes, the Manhattan Handicap and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap.

Facing Gio Ponti will be Karelian, an 8-year-old Bertrando gelding trained by Rusty Arnold for owner Green Lantern Stables. Karelian has bankrolled $468,675 in his 19 race career, and seven of his eight lifetime victories have been in turf races.

Also entered in the Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup is Mambo Meister, a King Cugat gelding owned by Quantum Racing Team #1 and trained by Philip Gleaves. In his last start, Mambo Meister was fourth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park.

Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup, $150,000 guaranteed (includes $50,000 from Breeders’ Cup Fund)

1 1/16 miles (Turf), 4-year-olds and up

Post, horse, jockey, weight

1. Almoradi, P. Geroux, 116

2. Gio Ponti, C. Dominguez, 116

3. Public Speaker, D. Centeno, 118

4. Pickapocket, M. Leyva, 116

5. Mambo Meiser, P. Coa, 116

6. Dinner in Odem, P. Ortiz, 116

7. Karelian, G. Homeister, 116

8. Rahystrada, R. Karlsson, 122

9. Quiet Emarati, M. Perez, 116