02/25/2011 3:08PM

Gio Ponti sitting out Canadian Turf

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Barbara D. Livingston
Gio Ponti's preparation for the Dubai World Cup remains uncertain.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Sunday’s Grade 3 Canadian Turf lost its feature attraction when trainer Christophe Clement opted not to enter three-time Eclipse Award winner Gio Ponti as originally planned.

Clement was hoping to use the one-mile Canadian as a prep for Gio Ponti’s main goal this spring, a return to Dubai for the $10 million World Cup. The 2010 turf champion finished fourth, beaten just more than a length, in last year’s World Cup.

“He’s well, I just didn’t think he was back at the right fitness level that he should be at to run on Sunday,” Clement said. “I know this horse very well having been around him for such a long time, and I just thought this race was coming up a little bit too quick.”

Clement said he would reassess Gio Ponti’s situation over the next couple of weeks.

“I might have to do something different, give him a stronger work to get him ready for Dubai,” said Clement. “I might even bring him down to Palm Meadows or get special permission to work him between races at Gulfstream if we have to.”