10/02/2009 11:00PM

Interpatation beats Gio Ponti


ELMONT, N.Y. - The fourth time was the charm for Interpatation, who staged an improbable come-again upset over odds-on Gio Ponti to win Saturday's as the rank outsider at Belmont Park.

Interpatation, whose last two wins had come in back-to-back renewals of the Larry R. Riviello Presidents Cup at Philadelphia Park in 2006-07, finished fourth at 28-1 in the 2006 Turf Classic, third at 19-1 two years ago, and was second at 16-1 last year.

Making the 50th start of his career, all of them for trainer Bobby Barbara, Interpatation saved ground on the lead through a driving rain while prompted by the 3-year-old Al Khali through opening splits of 26.01 and 54.22 seconds, on a saturated turf course that had already absorbed several rounds of drenching storms in mid-afternoon.

Interpatation remained in front under Robby Albarado after six furlongs in 1:22.20 and a mile in 1:48.79, but lost the lead to Gio Ponti in midstretch after 10 furlongs in 2:14.59 seconds. At that point, Gio Ponti was seemingly well on his way to his fifth consecutive Grade 1 triumph, but Interpatation battled back on the rail and was going away late to score in 2:41.22 on a course that was an absolute bog. It was the slowest final time in 33 runnings of the race.

"Bobby said in the paddock, 'He's a stayer,' " said Albarado. "I had the intention of being forwardly placed and I ended up on the lead, galloping, in a canter. At every point, I had plenty of horse. When Gio Ponti ran up to me, I thought, 'Gee, maybe I can get second.' But he didn't get away from me, and my horse hit his stride."

"It was great - great," said a jubiliant Barbara. "I just loved the way he looked going down the backside. I was waiting for him one day to pick his head up and do it right. This horse made $700,000 the hard way, and now he's over a million in one day!"

Interpatation, a 7-year-old gelding whose only prior graded stakes victory was the Grade 3 Palm Beach as a 3-year-old in 2005, paid $89.50 as the rank outsider in a field that scratched down to six. His margin of victory was 1 3/4 lengthss, and Gio Ponti had the same margin over third-place finisher Telling.

"Second best-in that one," said Gio Ponti's trainer, Christophe Clement, "but I thought he ran a very good race - he really tried. The idea is to go from there to the Breeders' Cup, use the race and move on."

Telling finished a half-length ahead of Grand Couturier for third, but was disqualified and placed behind Grand Couturier (last year's Turf Classic winner) after drifting out in the stretch.

Al Khali and Musketier completed the order of finish.