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Cape Blanco Beats Gio Ponti in Man O' War

Cape Blanco (IRE), regular rider Jamie Spencer aboard, outduels defending champion Gio Ponti to win the Man O' War Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York on July 9, 2011
Cape Blanco made his trans-Atlantic voyage a winning one Saturday afternoon, taking command in deep stretch and easily holding off favored Gio Ponti to take the 53rd running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park.

Displaying the Group 1-winning form he flashed last year in conquering the Irish Derby and the Irish Champion Stakes, the 4-year-old Galileo colt sat just off Mission Approved as he led the field of six through an opening half-mile in 50.31 over a turf course rated "good," and then moved up to collar the pacesetter on the turn despite losing a shoe. With only a slim advantage straightening for home, Cape Blanco began drifting out slightly but then kicked into high gear with 220 yards to go, hitting the wire 2 ¼ lengths in front of Gio Ponti, who had closed from last.

Cape Blanco's winning time for the 1 3/8 miles was 2:14.06.

"I'm very happy with the way the race panned out," said jockey Jamie Spencer. "I joined the leader four furlongs out and my horse was really ready for it, but as I joined him [my horse] changed leads and lost a front shoe, so that was the only worry I had throughout the whole race. He's a high-class horse and I'm glad he's come back to form."

Gio Ponti, the reigning Eclipse Award champion turf horse, finished a length in front of Boisterous as his bid to become the first three-time winner of the Man o' War fell short.

"I had a great trip, saving as much ground as possible, and my horse gave me a good turn of foot, but it was not enough," said Ramon Dominguez, aboard the even-money favorite.

The Man o' War was the first victory in four starts this year for the Aidan O'Brien-trained Cape Blanco, who was making his American debut in the race. Owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. Fitri Hay, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael B. Tabor, Cape Blanco extended his record to 7-1-0 from 13 starts and with the winner's purse of $360,000 has now earned $2,979,665.

"We always like to support American racing," said Charlie O'Connor of Ashford Stud, representing Cape Blanco's owners. "We thought his horse would suit the race. He proved we were right. The distance probably suited him. We were a little bit worried when it was a little bit slow. Jamie gave him a great ride and he kicked on at the right time. He's back to his best form."

The 3-1 second choice, Cape Blanco returned $8.10 for a $2 win bet to his backers in the crowd of 6,619. O'Connor indicated Cape Blanco would return to Ireland with a possible start in the Arlington Million on August 13 under consideration.

Completing the order of finish behind Boisterous were Mission Approved, Al Khali and Bearpath. Nownownow was scratched.



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Older Comments about Cape Blanco Beats Gio Ponti in Man O' War...

They need to put him back in one miler turf events... he'd still be a killer.
I knew that if Cape Blanco cape back into somewhere near his form of the Irish Champion Stakes that it would be very difficult for Gio Ponti to beat him in this race. Cape Blanco, at his best, is a very talented, very legitimate G1 horse for sure. This was really a nice win for Cape Blanco to add to his two G1 win's in the Irish Derby and Irish Champion Stakes. Plus his G2 Dante Stakes win over Workforce in the UK. Beating Gio Ponti in the G1 Man O' War Stakes will look really good on Cape Blanco's resume' when he finally goes to the breeding shed. I think Aidan O'Brien should send Cape Blanco next to the G1 Arlington Million while he has the horse in America. The field in the Arlington Million would be quite a bit deeper than he faced in the Man O' War today, because the Million usually draws a large European contingent, too. But seeing Cape Blanco pull 2 or 3 length's clear of Gio Ponti today at Belmont, I have no doubt that the Arlington Million would be another very winnable G1 turf stakes in America for Cape Blanco. TJMO.
Hey, I hope Shutty actually played that $60 cold Cape Blanco-Gio Ponti exacta.
the track was yielding/should have scratched Gio Ponti
Kinda saw this happening.. I think Gio is slowing down a bit.. that or there are faster horses comin around

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