06/04/2011 3:25PM

Belmont: Pletcher sending two to Royal Ascot

Barbara D. Livingston
More Than Real, with Garrett Gomez up, wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Order up a set of top hat and tails for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher confirmed Saturday that he will be sending both More Than Real and Bridgetown to England for the upcoming Royal Ascot meeting, June 14-18. Both horses worked five furlongs in a swift 58.56 seconds over Belmont’s inner turf course on Saturday. The works were conducted on the inner turf course and only one set of traffic cones, referred to as dogs, were up.

“They both worked really, really well, especially [More Than Real], she worked really good,” Pletcher said.

More Than Real, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, will run in the one-mile Coronation Stakes on June 17. Bridgetown, fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but a stakes winner this year, will run in the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes on June 14.

This will mark Pletcher’s first trip to Royal Ascot, something he said he was “kind of” excited about. In between race days, Pletcher plans to visit the famed Ballydoyle training center of Vincent O’Brien.

“I’m looking forward to seeing that,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said that Oliver Peslier will ride More Than Real in the Coronation, while John Velazquez will ride Bridgetown.

More Than Real, owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, has not raced since her victory in the Breeders’ Cup. Bridgtown, owned by Eugene Melnyk, finished second in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Chrurchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.

Gio Ponti sharp in Manhattan breeze

Before Pletcher’s duo worked on the turf, multiple Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti worked a sharp six furlongs in 1:13.20 in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Manhattan, a race he won in 2009 and finished second in last year.

Both horses are expected to leave New York in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning.

Gio Ponti worked in company with stablemate Interaction. Gio Ponti started about three-quarters of a length behind him and went in fractions of 13.81 seconds for the first eighth, 27.07 for the quarter, and 50.87 for the half. Turning into the stretch, he came outside of Interaction and powered home a strong final quarter in 22.33 seconds.

“That last quarter of the breeze he seemed to be very willing and was really stretching his legs,” trainer Christophe Clement said.

Gio Ponti, a six-time Grade 1 winner, has not run since finishing fifth in the Dubai World Cup in March. Clement gave him about two or three weeks of light training in April at Payson Park in Florida before getting him back on the work tab in mid-May. He’s had four works leading into this year’s Manhattan as compared with two going into last year when he was beaten one-half length by stablemate Winchester.

“He’s had more consistent preparation this year,” Clement said.

Others pointing to the Manhattan include Al Khali, Mission Approved, Prince Will I Am, Smart Bid and Viscount Nelson. Boisterous, Pool Play and Windward Islands are possible.