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Manhattan Field Taking Shape

Gio Ponti and Garrett Gomez take the 2009 Manhattan on Belmont Day

Heading the contenders for the Woodford Reserve Manhattan is reigning Eclipse Champion turf male Gio Ponti. Trained by Christophe Clement for Castleton Lyons Farm, the 6-year-old Tale of the Cat horse has not raced since finishing fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Dubai World Cup on March 26, his only start of 2011. He will be looking for his seventh career Grade 1 win in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan, a race in which he finished second last year to stablemate Winchester.


Prince Will I Am will seek his second career Grade 1 win for trainer Michelle Nihei in the Manhattan, his fourth start of 2011. His other Grade 1 victory came over the Belmont Park turf in last year’s Jamaica.


European conditioner Aidan O’Brien is bringing the multiple Group 1-placed Viscount Nelson to contest the Manhattan, which will be his second race in eight days, having won a listed stakes at the Curragh in Ireland on June 3. The 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt ran third in both the prestigious Irish 2000 Guineas and Eclipse Stakes last year.


Also expected for the Manhattan are graded winners Al Khali, Bold Hawk, and Smart Bid, graded-placed Mission Approved, and allowance winner Center Divider. Listed as possible are Boisterous and Windward Islands.



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