Christophe Lorieul, assistant to trainer Christophe
Clement, was pleased with the three horses the trainer has shipped from Saratoga
to Arlington Park
for Saturday’s races.
Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, the 2009 winner of the Grade I
Arlington Million, and second in last year’s edition to HRH Princess Haya of Jordan’s
Debussy, settled in at Barn 18, along with Beverly D. hope Cheetah and
undercard runner Race to Urga.
“We had a very uneventful trip, and it was incredibly
quick. Four-and-a-half hours from door to door,” said Lorieul.
“Every year Gio Ponti has been here, he deserves it. He is in great
condition and just needs a clean trip.”
When beaten by Debussy last year, Gio Ponti was forced to
advance incredibly wide and finished in the middle of the course, possibly not
even seeing the late running eventual winner slipping through.
“Many people have asked if he could run a bit closer, but
he’s an older horse and it is really hard to take him out of his style,” said
Cheetah, recent winner of the Grade III Robert G. Dick
Memorial at Delaware
Park, is progressing well
for the barn, but still comes here with question marks.
“It is tough to know how good that field was in Delaware,”
Lorieul pondered. “She is a versatile filly and does not have to come
from the back of the field like she did then.”
“This is an ambitious spot for her, and we are hoping to
get Mr. Scarborough another win in this race.” Owner Robert Scarborough
took the 2008 edition of the Beverly D. with Clement-trained Mauralakana.
Race to Urga drew the rail in the $65,000-added Hatoof
Stakes on the Million undercard, a race that starts the $200,000 guaranteed
all-stakes Pick Four.
is a great chance to pick up some black type for her,” Lorieul said of the
3-year-old filly by Bernstein, installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite in
the overflow field of 14 including two on the also eligible list. Just a
maiden winner over turf at Belmont
Park in mid-June, Race to
Urga is also owned by Castleton Lyons, campaigners of Gio Ponti.