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HRN Original Blog:
The Dark Horse

Why Not The Arlington Million For Gio Ponti??

Some of the recent chatter on Horse Racing Nation, Twitter, and Facebook has been bothering me lately.  A lot of people think it’s time for Gio Ponti to hang it up, that he has nothing left in the tank.  I’m going to make the case for the other side.  I am welcoming Gio Ponti back to Arlington Park for the Arlington Million with open arms!

With over $5.4 million in lifetime earnings, 11 wins, and finishing 21 of 26 races on the board, does this descendant of both Secretariat and Alydar really have much left to prove? 


In his championship career he has won the following races:

  • Bourbon Stakes
  • Hill Prince Stakes
  • Virginia Derby
  • Sir Beaufort Stakes
  • Kilroe Mile Handicap
  • Manhattan Handicap
  • Man O’War (TWICE)
  • Arlington Million
  • Shadwell Turf

He finished a close second to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders Cup Classic after winning four stakes races in a row (including the Arlington Million) and five of six earlier that season.  He was barely beat by Debussy in the 2010 Arlington Million, and finished second to the great Goldikova in the 2010 Breeders Cup Mile while still winning two other Grade 1 stakes in the same season.  In fact, in recent history the only race that Gio Ponti really struggled in was the Dubai World Cup, twice, which is a race that is obviously beyond his capability in terms of distance.  You have to go back to February of 2009 to find the last race outside of Dubai that he failed to hit the board!  That’s over two years folks.  There aren’t many other champion horses that can boast a record like that. 

In this day and age it’s also nice to have a champion horse continue to run in quality stakes races versus being sent to the breeding shed after their three year old season.  For that very reason it’s becoming harder and harder to follow a champion horse throughout their career and to look forward to seeing them run again and again.  Imagine if Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Walter Payton, etc. stopped playing after their third seasons.  Would we still have been celebrating the great careers that they had?  The obvious answer is NO.  So why should it be any different in horse racing?  Why shouldn’t we racing fans have the ability to follow a great contender throughout their career?  You also have to commend this rock-solid horse for the limited number of injuries he has had in his amazing career! 

No matter how Gio Ponti fares in this year’s Arlington Million it will be an honor to see him run on the pristine turf course here in Chicago.  Believe me, I’ll be in the paddock taking many photos and videos of one of my favorite horses of all time. 

I hope you're able to celebrate the great career of Gio Ponti like I do.

 

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Older Comments about Why Not The Arlington Million For Gio Ponti??...

Gio Ponti is awesome. He seems to be able to run on any surface, at any distance. I am so glad that his connections have kept him around for so long. I will be cheering for him in the Million!
As always, enjoyed the article, Chris. Should be a stirring Million!
Might be a good spot for GP then... even though a mile is probably his best distance.
I wonder if they'll shoot for BC classic similar to Paddy O' Prado last year. The BC Mile is coming up real salty this year if Goldikova, Canford Cliffs & Frankel all make the trip. On the flip side, if the BC Classic was run tomorrow, it may be considered the weakest rendition ever.
Absolutely, Chris ... and I would add that he received absolutely zero pace help in neither the Manhattan nor the Man O' War.
What I failed to mention above is the fact that GP is also very versatile in terms of switching surfaces! He runs well on anything!
Totally agree. We knock connections for not keeping there horses on the track longer then 2 seasons, and now we knock them for running them to long. Gio deserves another shot.
I enjoyed this and agree 100%.

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
 
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
 
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), 
I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!  
 
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This blog is eternally dedicated to the memory of Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds.