If anyone thought the battle for HOTY honors was over think again. Ever since the Haskell, where filly sensation Rachel Alexandra, where pulverized her male opponets, many have said HOTY was over and Rachel had the honors locked up. Well if anyone saw the Arlington Million, Gio Ponti made them think again.
At the begining of the year Gio Ponti was thought as just a good miler, but when he won his third Grade one in a row in the 11 furlong Man o War, he again made people re-think their first impression. Today Gio Ponti was out to prove he was the real deal in the Grade one Arlington Million. Breaking a step slowly he sat near the back of the pack letting the fleet footed Precious Passion, who'd just set a track record last out, set the pace. After a slow 3/4's in 1.14 and change the field began to move up, with Gio Ponti just getting started. As they hit the top of the stretch Precious Passion threw in the towl and Gio Ponti surged to the lead, and he kept it, easily fending off two other challengers to win the Arlington Million, now earning his forth Grade one in a row.
Gio Ponti is either heading towards the Breeders Cup Turf, or possibly, the Classic. This year the Classic is held on the synthetic track Pro Ride at Santa Anita, which last year proved to the liking of many turf horses. In fact Europes top two three year olds Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator finished one two in the Classic after racing on turf all year long. As we can see Gio Ponti has a lot of options open. In the Turf he will likey run into last years defending champion Conduit, who set a track record in that race. Conduit's year got off slowly, but he won his last race the King George and is looking for a return trip to the states to defend his crown. In the Classic Gio Ponti will face an entirely different cast of horses. He will probably get to face Hollywood Gold Cup winner Rail Trip who has yet to finish worse than second his entire career. He will also probably face the Irish Derby will Fame and Glory, and possibly Europes best horse Sea the Stars, who beat Conduit earlier this year. Others that may come are Quality Road, Summer Bird, and Mine that Bird. Either way a win could result in becoming HOTY.