Gio Ponti wants to be Millionaire again in 3rd start
By Tina Akouris firstname.lastname@example.org August 9, 2011 10:56PM
The field for the 29th running of the Arlington Million on Saturday at Arlington Park. Post time is 5:15 p.m.
PP Horse Trainer Jockey Odds
1 Rahystrada Hughes Russell 12-1
2 Tajaaweed Peitz Graham 12-1
3 Dean’s Kitten Maker Leparoux 30-1
4 Zack Hall Delzangles Soumillon 10-1
5 Gio Ponti Clement Dominguez 2-1
6 Proceed Bee Becker Emigh 50-1
7 Cape Blanco O’Brien Spencer 9-5
8 Mission Approved Chatterpaul Espinoza 6-1
9 Wigmore Hall Bell Turner 8-1
10 General Perfect Thompson Gomez 50-1
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:24AM
All eyes will be on Gio Ponti on Saturday at the 29th running of the Arlington Million at Arlington Park.
The 6-year-old is vying for a second victory in the prestigious race in his record-tying third Million start.
Gio Ponti picked up the fifth post position Tuesday, when the draw was held for the Arlington Million (5 p.m., Ch. 9), Beverly D. and Secretariat stakes. All three Grade I races are part of Arlington Park’s International Festival of Racing.
If Gio Ponti wins, he will join John Henry as the only horses to have won the Million twice. Gio Ponti finished runner-up to Debussy in 2010.
And to add more drama to the Million, Gio Ponti faces a rematch with Cape Blanco. Gio Ponti finished second to the Irish-bred Cape Blanco in the Man o’ War Grade I stakes race at Belmont Park in July.
Mission Approved trainer/owner Naipaul Chatterpaul is pleased with his horse in the eighth post position but wishes Mission Approved had lucked out with a better starting spot.
“Starting on the turn, it’s not a problem, and he has speed to overcome that,” Chatterpaul said. “I was hoping for something a little more inside, maybe at the fifth hole or so, but it is what it is. He’s been running great, and I’ve been here at least six or seven days with him. Maybe after this, I might shoot to Japan with him.”
There are three European horses in the Million field — Cape Blanco (Ireland), Wigmore Hall (Ireland) and Zack Hall (France). But the other two stakes races also have a strong contingent of horses from overseas.
In the $750,000 Beverly D. for 3-year-old fillies and mares, Cheetah, Dubawi Heights and Fantasia are from Britain, Stacelita is from France, Éclair de Lune is from Germany and River Fetez is from South Africa.
And Treasure Beach (Britain) and Ziyarid (Ireland) round out the international horses in the $400,000 Secretariat for 3-year-olds.
“They are as strong a bunch as we’ve brought over in a while,” said International Racing Bureau CEO Alastair Donald. “We seem to have some very nice older horses [this year], and we’re lucky that we’ve got Cape Blanco, who comes to the Million as an Irish Derby winner and multiple Grade I winner.”
Five-year-old mare Éclair de Lune may be the sentimental favorite in the Beverly D. It’s Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois’ horse and the defending Beverly D. champion.