07/25/2011 5:09PM

Saratoga: Gio Ponti gets in his turf work early


Anybody hoping to watch Gio Ponti work here Monday for his upcoming engagement in the Arlington Million probably missed the opportunity after trainer Christophe Clement was able to get his multiple Eclipse Award winner out over the turf at the Oklahoma training center about 30 minutes prior to the course’s regularly scheduled opening at 10:15  a.m.

“Management is allowing Grade 1 horses to work once a week on the rail over fresh ground, which is very nice,” said Clement. “They opened the course yesterday for a handful of horses, including Sidney’s Candy, and we were able to get on today a little earlier than the rest.”
Working inside the dogs, Gio Ponti went a half-mile in 47.60 with his final quarter in 22.40 and galloped out five-eighths in 59.20 according to track clockers.

“He worked very well,” said Clement. “He’ll have one more work and then go for the Million.”

Drosselmeyer targets Sword Dancer

Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer, who like Sidney’s Candy is owned by WinStar Farm, will change surfaces and make his next start in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational here on Aug. 13 at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.

Drosselmeyer, a son of Distorted Humor, made the first two starts of his career on turf finishing third in his debut here and second in his second start at Belmont Park in 2009. He also finished second in a race over Keeneland’s synthetic surface before being switched to dirt.

“Obviously, the mile-and-a-half suits him,’’ Walden said. “There are not any real spots a mile and a quarter and up for him; we feel like this is a good spot to run him in and then we could come back in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.’’

On July 15, Drosselmeyer worked five furlongs in 1:03 on the Oklahoma training turf course. On Monday, Drosselmeyer worked five furlongs in 1:02.89 over the Oklahoma dirt course.

“I think he’d run over broken bottles,’’ trainer Bill Mott said. “He just likes the distance.’’

Drosselmeyer is coming off a second-place finish in the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park on July 10. Mott said the horse came out of that race with a bruised foot.

Mott mentioned that he will work Royal Delta, the third-place finisher behind It’s Tricky and Plum Pretty in Saturday’s Coaching Club American Oaks, on the turf soon and decide whether to transfer surfaces with her or run her back in the Alabama on Aug. 20.