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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Gio Ponti Works; Next Start Uncertain

Five-time Grade 1 winner Gio Ponti posted a five-furlong work over the inner turf at Belmont Park Saturday morning, his first since finishing second in the Grade 1 Arlington Million on August 21. On July 10, the son of Tale of the Cat defended his title in the Man o’War at Belmont Park to notch his first victory this year. Caught by NYRA Clockers in 1:01.74, trainer Christophe Clement was happy with the move, but reiterated that the horse’s schedule for the rest of the year is still uncertain.

 

“He worked well and he came back in good order,” Clement said. “Everything looks good. Nothing is definite at the moment.”

 

Clement added that Gio Ponti would “most probably” be pointed to one of the Breeders’ Cup Championship races at Churchill Downs on November 6, and that he would discuss the matter with owner Shane Ryan of Castleton Lyons this week before making a decision on that race, or any interim start.

 

In 2009, Gio Ponti finished second to the undefeated mare Zenyatta in the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic, which was run over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park. The event will take place at Churchill Downs this year, and the 1 ¼-mile Classic will be contested over dirt.

 

Working Sunday for Clement was Mrs. C. Wilson McNeely’s Funny Moon, winner of the Grade 2 Shuvee at Belmont on May 15. Since then she has notched a pair of third-place efforts in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap and the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. Last July, she won the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, also run at Belmont.

 

The filly was caught in 50.06 for four furlongs on the main track at Belmont.

 

“She worked very well and we will point her to either the Beldame [Grade 1, $350,000 1 1/8 miles on October 2 at Belmont Park] or the Spinster [Grade 1, Keeneland, October 10],” said the trainer.

 

On Friday, Clement trainee Nordic Truce heads a field of eight in the Fifth Marine, a $60,000 one-mile turf overnight stakes for 3-year-olds.

 

Fourth in his most recent effort, the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes off a two-month layoff, Nordic Truce seeks his first win since taking the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland on April 2. Between those starts he finished a neck behind winner Krypton in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont on June 4.

 

Also entered in the Fifth Marine are Lubash, winner of the New York Stallion Stakes Cab Calloway division at Saratoga on August 11; Radiohead, a Group 2 winner on the turf in England who will make his first start since a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 20; and Lighthouse Sound, Raging Wit, Best Actor, Asphalt, and Aikenite. Sun Dance Moon may run if the race is moved to the main track.

 

 

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