VA DERBY WINNER WINS AGAIN

Multiple graded stakes winner Gio Ponti, who won this year’s Virginia Derby (G2), closed with a rush in the final furlong to win the $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes in his synthetic surface debut at Santa Anita Park.

The three-year-old Tale of the Cat colt raced in last place for the first half of the one-mile race, then closed from fourth in early stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:34.92 on the synthetic Pro-Ride surface.

The race was moved off the turf, a surface on which Gio Ponti made his first eight career starts.

The Sir Beaufort was automatically downgraded one level, from a Grade 3 race to an ungraded race, pending a review by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Jockey Garrett Gomez rated Gio Ponti at the back of the nine-horse field as Icemancometh (Ire) set brisk fractions of :23.03 and :46.53 through a half-mile. Icemancometh continued to lead through six furlongs in 1:10.84 as Gio Ponti advanced to seventh.

As the field fanned out on the turn for home, Gomez patiently waited for an opening. Once he found daylight, he gave Gio Ponti his cue and the colt accelerated to a clear win as the 13-to-10 favorite.

Medjool finished second, a head in front of third-place finisher El Gato Malo.

Gio Ponti improved to five wins in nine career starts, including the Hill Prince Stakes (G3) in June at Belmont Park and the Virginia Derby (G2) in July at Colonial Downs, and boosted his bankroll to $820,800 for owner Castleton Lyons.

Bred in Kentucky by Kilboy Estate Inc., Gio Ponti is out of the Alydar mare Chipeta Springs