06/08/2010 12:00AM

Clement will separate Gio Ponti, Winchester


After finishing one-two in Saturday's Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap, stablemates Winchester and Gio Ponti will likely not face each other again for the foreseeable future, trainer Christophe Clement said.

Clement said both horses came out of the Manhattan in good order and both will be kept eligible to all the same races through the summer. Clement said Gio Ponti would likely make his next start in the Grade 1, $600,000 Man o' War at Belmont on July 10, while Winchester will target the $750,000 United Nations at Monmouth Park a week earlier.

In August, one could run in the Arlington Million while the other could go in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga. Those races are a week apart.

Clement also said that he was not averse to trying Gio Ponti again on a synthetic surface in races such as the Pacific Classic at Del Mar or the Goodwood at Santa Anita. Gio Ponti finished second to Zenyatta in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface. Clement also mentioned the Hollywood Gold Cup, but that race is the same day as the Man o' War for a purse of $100,000 less.

In the Manhattan, Gio Ponti, in his first start since the Dubai World Cup, had to weave his way through traffic while carrying top weight of 122 pounds, while Winchester, under 116 pounds, had clear sailing along the outside and just got up by a half-length.

"Winchester ran a great race," Clement said. "He might have run the best race of his life. Gio Ponti, in his comeback race from Dubai, giving away weight with the trip he had, I got to be delighted with those two horses."

Take the Points, who finished fourth in the Manhattan, is a candidate for both the Man o' War and the United Nations, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Bribon likely to keep sprinting

Pletcher was happy to see Bribon appreciate turning back to six furlongs in winning the Grade 2 True North Handicap on Saturday. Pletcher said he would keep Bribon, last year's Metropolitan Handicap winner, in sprint races, targeting the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at six furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 8 and then the Grade 1 Forego, a seven-furlong race, on Sept. 4.

"The Vanderbilt is most likely his next start, though it's a little more time than he may need," Pletcher said. "But if we're going to come back in four weeks in the Forego, then that might make sense."

Bribon, who had been running principally at a mile over the last two years, won for the 10th time from 33 starts and surpassed the million-dollar mark in earnings ($1,038,763). Bribon, who ran six furlongs in 1:09.63, earned a 107 Beyer Speed Figure.