Updated on 09/12/2011 2:59PM

Gio Ponti to pass Woodbine Mile

Barbara D. Livingston
Gio Ponti will skip Sunday's Woodbine Mile and await the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Christophe Clement said Monday that Gio Ponti would pass on Sunday’s Woodbine Mile and stick to the original schedule of the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 8 and the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 5.

Clement had said that he was thinking of squeezing the Woodbine Mile in for Gio Ponti, the three-time Eclipse Award winner, but ultimately he and owner Shane Ryan decided against it.

“At that level, we thought it might be a bit greedy to try and squeeze a third race in,” Clement said. “We’ll concentrate on the Shadwell Turf Mile and the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It worked well last year, let’s hope it can work again.”

Last year, Gio Ponti won the Shadwell Turf Mile before running second to Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Gio Ponti is coming off a second-place finish in the Arlington Million.

Clement said that Winchester, winner of the Sword Dancer Invitational, would be pointed to the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont on Oct. 1, where he will most likely take on Man o' War and Arlington Million winner Cape Blanco. Clement also had considered Sunday’s Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine as a possible option for Winchester.

Clement noted Winchester’s affinity for Belmont played a role in the decision to point for the Turf Classic, a race Winchester won last year. Winchester, who on Monday breezed four furlongs in 50.23 over Belmont’s main track, also won the Grade 1 Manhattan here last year and has twice finished second in the Bowling Green.

Speaking of the Bowling Green, this year’s winner, Grassy – also trained by Clement – is under consideration for the Turf Classic. Grassy, who earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for his Bowling Green victory, finished third to Winchester in last year’s Turf Classic.