07/09/2011 12:43PM

Gio Ponti a go for Man o' War at Belmont

Barbara D. Livingston
Despite the rain-softened course, Gio Ponti will run in the Man o' War.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Despite the fact the Belmont Park turf courses are not firm, Gio Ponti will run in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes, trainer Christophe Clement confirmed at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

"Running," Clement wrote in a text after he met with owner Shane Ryan.


MAN O' WAR: Video preview and past performances »

Clement had said on Friday that if the course was too soft, he and Ryan would scratch Gio Ponti from the Man o’ War. An inch of rain fell Friday forcing all five of Belmont Park’s scheduled turf races to be run on the main track. The courses were labeled as good to begin Saturday’s program, which began under bright, sunny skies with warm temperatures and a breeze.

Clement walked the turf course at 5:30 and again at 11 a.m. Saturday morning and expressed contentment with the condition of the course considering that drying out conditions would prevail throughout the day.

Gio Ponti, the two-time reigning male turf champion, is seeking an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the Man o’ War. The field did have one scratch as Nownownow was withdrawn.