Multiple 2009 Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti will be cross-entered in both the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Breeders' Cup Mile when Breeders' Cup pre-entries are taken on Monday, according to a manager at the Castleton-Lyons Farm of Gio Ponti's owner, Shane Ryan.
"At the moment our intention is to enter in both the races," Stuart Fitzgibbon, commercial manager at Castleton-Lyons, said Thursday afternoon.
Gio Ponti finished second in the 1 1/4-mile Classic in 2009, but that was when the race was contested over a synthetic surface at Santa Anita. Were he to try this year's Classic, Gio Ponti would be making his first start on dirt.
Gio Ponti might be the fifth betting choice in the Classic behind Zenyatta, Lookin at Lucky, Quality Road, and Blame. In the Mile, he could be second choice behind two-time defending champion Goldikova. Gio Ponti ran the worst race of his career the first time he tried a turf mile, on a boggy Monmouth course in the 2008 BC Juvenile Turf, but has won his other three one-mile grass races, including a victory over top-class Ventura in the 2009 Grade 1 Kilroe Handicap, and a sharp last-out win in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile on Oct. 9 at Keeneland.
Final Breeders' Cup entries aren't due until Nov. 2, by which time Gio Ponti will have completed all his major work. Gio Ponti is based in New York with trainer Christophe Clement, who said earlier this week that Gio Ponti would have his first timed workout since the Shadwell either Sunday or Monday.
"He had an easy week last week," Clement said, "and I will work him this coming weekend."
Clement hadn't yet decided whether Gio Ponti would breeze on turf or dirt: All of Gio Ponti's workouts dating to early August have come on grass courses in New York. Clement said he wasn't overly concerned about setting up a plan of Breeders' Cup preparation without knowing which race-- or even which surface-- his horse would be targeting.
"Obviously it would be nice to know which race, but we will be fine," he said.