02/16/2011 4:59PM

Gio Ponti may prep for Dubai World Cup in Canadian Turf

Tom Keyser
Gio Ponti could start his 2011 campaign in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf on Feb. 27.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Nominations are out for the four stakes races to be decided here on the weekend of Feb. 26, and the two most important names on those lists are not even in the most important race of that weekend, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

Among the 40 3-year-olds nominated for the seven-furlong Hutcheson, one of the supporting features on the Feb. 26 Fountain of Youth card, is Eclipse Award winner and current Kentucky Derby favorite Uncle Mo. And topping the roster of 39 turf specialists eligible for the Grade 3 Canadian Turf the following afternoon is three-time Eclipse Award winner and reigning turf champion Gio Ponti.

While Uncle Mo will not run in the Hutcheson, trainer Christophe Clement said Wednesday there is a very good chance Gio Ponti could open his 2011 campaign in the one-mile Canadian Turf. Clement would like to get a prep race for Gio Ponti before the Dubai World Cup on March 26.

DUBAI RACING CARNIVAL: Past performances, race analysis, and results

“He’s doing very well,” Clement said. “He’ll breeze back at Payson Park on Saturday, after which I’ll make a final decision, but at the moment, the plan is to bring him back in the Canadian.”

Gio Ponti, who won a pair of Grade 1 races before concluding his 2010 campaign by finishing second behind Goldlikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, finished fourth, beaten just more than a length last spring in the $10 million World Cup.