01/26/2010 12:00AM

Gio Ponti leaves for Florida

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Barbara D. Livingston
A day after recording his fourth work of the year at Santa Anita, Eclipse winner Gio Ponti was put on a plane Tuesday for Florida, where he is expected to make his first start of the season.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Gio Ponti, the champion older male and turf male of 2009, was sent from California to Florida on Tuesday to continue his preparation for a 2010 campaign.

Nicholas Bachalard, who directs trainer Christophe Clement's California stable, deferred comment to Clement in Florida. Clement declined to comment on his plans for Gio Ponti.

Gio Ponti worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 at Santa Anita on Monday before departing early Tuesday. Gio Ponti has had four works this year.

Unraced since finishing second to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November, Gio Ponti is expected to make his 2010 debut at Gulfstream Park in coming weeks, possibly in the $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes over a mile Feb. 20. The first major goal for him in 2010 is the Dubai World Cup on March 27.

A 5-year-old owned by Castleton Lyons, Gio Ponti has won 9 of 16 starts and $3,153,800.

Pretty Unusual back for El Encino

Less than two weeks after her upset victory in the $150,000 El Encino Stakes on Jan. 17, Pretty Unusual will start for a more lucrative prize in Saturday's $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita.

"We weren't planning to go here, but she's earned her way," trainer Barry Abrams said. "We have no pressure on us. It's a $300,000 race, and I said, 'What the heck. Let's put her in the race.' "

Owned by a partnership, Pretty Unusual was supplemented to the Filly and Mare Turf for $6,000 on Monday, when entries were drawn. Abrams said he would prefer to race Pretty Unusual than attempt to train her in coming weeks at Santa Anita, where morning training was interrupted last week because of wet weather.

"If I knew we wouldn't have rain for the next month, I would train her," he said. "She can win."

The Filly and Mare Turf, run over 1 1/8 miles for California-breds and Florida-breds, has drawn a field of eight and is one of three Sunshine Millions races on Santa Anita's 11-race program Saturday.

The card is highlighted by the $500,000 Classic over 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Abrams plans to start Unusual Suspect in the Classic. The winner of the Cougar II Handicap at Del Mar last summer, Unusual Suspect was sixth in the California Cup Mile on turf in October in his last start.

The Classic is led by the California-bred The Usual Q.T., the winner of four consecutive stakes, and the Florida-bred Palladio, a two-time stakes winner at Woodbine last year.

Zenyatta works at Hollywood

Eclipse Award winner Zenyatta, who has not started since the Breeders' Cup Classic, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Hollywood Park on Monday.

Earlier this month, owners Jerry and Ann Moss said Zenyatta would remain in training in 2010 after announcing last fall that she was to be retired and bred.

Trainer John Shirreffs has not confirmed when Zenyatta will return to racing, but last week he mentioned the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita on March 13 as a strong possibility.

Kinsella euthanized after injury

Kinsella, a $2.2 million yearling purchase who finished third in the Bryan Station Stakes at Keeneland last October, was euthanized Monday after suffering a cannon bone injury during a workout, according to trainer Todd Pletcher's assistant in California, Michael McCarthy.

Owned by Team Valor International, Kinsella was 12th in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes in his last start Dec. 26. A 4-year-old, Kinsella won 2 of 5 starts and $65,505. By Mr. Greeley, Kinsella topped the 2007 Saratoga yearling sale.

Eclair de Lune nears first U.S. start

The 4-year-old filly Eclair de Lune is nearing her U.S. debut for trainer Ron McAnally. Third in the Group 3 Prix de la Nonette last August, Eclair de Lune is owned by Richard Duchossois.

McAnally said Sunday that he is hoping to start Eclair de Lune in coming weeks. She was eighth in the French Oaks last June.

Evita Argentina eyes Santa Monica

Evita Argentina, the winner of the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes, will try for a second win at that level at this meeting in Sunday's $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap. She worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 on Sunday.

Evita Argentina will be a top contender in the Santa Monica, which like the La Brea is run over seven furlongs. Evita Argentina leads a field that does not include a standout. The field is unlikely to include the multiple stakes winner Tuscan Evening, who will be pointed for the Buena Vista Handicap on Feb. 15.

Aside from Evita Argentina, the probable starters include Czechers, Diamondrella, Free Flying Soul, Gabby's Golden Gal, and Gilded Gem.

* Doug Anderson, the son of top jockey agent Ron Anderson, has joined Team Valor and will head its marketing and promotion operations, according to Barry Irwin, Team Valor's president. Anderson was the founder and former chief executive of Public Loans Corporation, one of several Internet companies he has launched.