Sir Beaufort S. (gr. III)

(gr. III , 8f ,)

GIO PONTI (B h, 122 lb) $60,000
Tale of the Cat —Chipeta Springs , by Alydar
B—Kilboy Estate, Inc., KY.; O—Castleton Lyons; T—Christophe Clement

Medjool (CH h, 118 lb) $20,000
Monarchos —Perfect Story , by Tale of the Cat
B—John C. Oxley, KY.; O—Premier Thoroughbreds; T—Julio C. Canani

El Gato Malo (DK B/ g, 118 lb) $12,000
El Corredor —One Bad Cat , by Mountain Cat
B—Kenneth C. Roberts, KY.; O—West Point Thoroughbreds; T—Craig Dollase

Margins: 1½, head, ½. Others: Dakota Phone 120($6,000) , Icemancometh (IRE) 118($2,000) , Sky Cape 122 , Pistol Pete Afleet 118 , Young Joe 118 , Ten Meropa 118 . Winning Jockey, Garrett K. Gomez.

A switch in surface apparently didnÕt make any difference to Gio Ponti. Making his first start on a surface other than turf, Gio Ponti won the Dec. 26 Sir Beaufort Stakes opening day at Santa Anita. The race was switched from the grass to the Pro-Ride main surface because of heavy rains and lost its grade III status, pending a final decision by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Despite the switch in surface and a lack of experience racing on the main track, Gio Ponti went off the 6-5 favorite. Last of nine past the half-mile pole, he got up to win by 11Ú2 lengths.

A son of Tale of the Cat, Gio Ponti was one of 2008Õs prominent 3-year-old grass runners. Trained by Christophe Clement, he won the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) and Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) and was narrowly beaten in the Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT) and Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT). In his lone off-the-board effort, he ran seventh in the Nov. 30 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) but was beaten just 21Ú2 lengths.

ClementÕs assistant, Nicholas Bachalard, said there was no consideration of scratching Gio Ponti after the race was moved to the main track. ÒNo, never,Ó Bachalard said. ÒHeÕs always done well over it (synthetic tracks) in the morning, and Chris has always wanted to run him on it, so it was the right opportunity. He won pretty nice today. WeÕll talk to the owners, but he might stay for one race (the Feb. 7 Strub Stakes, gr. II) before going back to Florida.Ó

Gio Ponti was bred in Kentucky by Shane RyanÕs Kilboy Estate. Ryan serves as president of Castleton Lyons, which races Gio Ponti, The farm is located near Lexington.

RyanÕs late father, Tony Ryan, started Castleton Lyons in the early part of this decade. Ryan died Oct. 3, 2007, four days before Gio Ponti won KeenelandÕs Woodford Reserve Bourbon Stakes.

Gio PontiÕs younger half-sister, Bon Jovi Girl, also was a stakes winner in 2008. Bred by Kilboy Estate, Bon Jovi Girl won the Fairway Stakes and Blue Hen Stakes for 2-year-old fillies for Blaze of Glory Stables and Tim Ritchey, who trains her.

Chipeta Springs, who is kept at Castleton Lyons, also is the dam of stakes winner Fisher Pond. Kept at Castleton Lyons, Chipeta Springs is in foal to Bernstein, who stands at the farm.

Tale of the Cat has sired 55 stakes winners. His 15 stakes winners of 2008 include multiple grade I winner Tale of Ekati. Tale of the Cat stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2009 fee is $30,000.ÑD.S.