Tampa Bay: Son of Gio Ponti Wins on Turf; Racing to Resume on Friday

HorseracingFLA Staff Report

Students of pedigree had to enjoy Wednesday’s third race at Tampa Bay Downs, when the 3-year-old colt Z Ponti rallied in deep stretch for a neck victory from Wolf Rock.

The race was a $32-$30,000 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles on turf—the surface where Z Ponti’s sire Gio Ponti was a major star.

Z Ponti is a member of the first crop from Gio Ponti, who finished second by a nose to Karelian in the 2010 Tampa Bay Stakes (Grade 3) in his only race at Tampa Bay Downs.

Gio Ponti was the reigning Eclipse Award Champion Older Horse and Champion Grass Horse. He defended the second title in 2010. But he could not get past a stubborn Karelian in one of the most exciting finishes in recent Tampa Bay Downs history.

Out of the Distorted Humor mare Blageuse, Z Ponti is owned by Zayat Stables and trained by John P. Terranova, II.   Zayat Stables is best known as the owner of American Pharoah, the winner of last year’s Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Daniel Centeno rode Z Ponti, who paid $16.00 to win after getting the distance in 1:43.69.

Centeno also rode the winner Towpath in Wednesday’s  seventh race at one mile on turf.

Towpath, a 4-year-old gelding, rallied to beat Step Two by a neck. He was clocked in a fast 1:35.17 and paid $5.40 to win. Towpath is owned by Lael Stables and trained by Arnaud Delacour.

All-sources handle for Wednesday’s 10-race card was $3,899,071.

That included $219,601 in on-track handle from the crowd of 3,075.

Weekend Schedule

Tampa Bay will be dark on Thursday.

It will have ten races on Friday with first post of 12:25 p.m. and eleven races on Saturday with first post of 12:23 p.m.

Tampa Bay will not have racing this Sunday, which is Easter.

Starting next week it will have racing on Wednesdays and on Fridays through Sundays until May 8.

Also on Saturday, Tampa Bay will simulcast the last three races of the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline from Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.

The races available for wagering will be the $6-million Dubai Turf, the $6-million Dubai Sheema Classic and the $10-million Dubai World Cup.

There are 12 horses entered in the Dubai World Cup, headed by 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome. Victor Espinoza will ride the 2014 Horse of the Year.

The first of the three races available for wagering, the Dubai Turf, has a post time of 11:45 a.m. EDT.

— Photo on home page by Barry Unterbrink