Gio Ponti, last year’s dual Eclipse Award winner as top older horse and grass champion, snapped a five-race losing streak yesterday with a narrow win in the $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.
Ramon Dominguez was aboard as Gio Ponti, the trailer for much of the race, surged in the lane to beat Mission Approved, the longest price in the race at 53-1, by a neck. The victory gave Gio Ponti, a 5-year-old, a fifth Grade 1 win.
“I never had a doubt that the horse was the leader of his division and I’m delighted with the way he ran today,’’ trainer Christophe Clement said.
The time was 2:16.20 for the 1 3/8 miles on the firm turf course.
Gio Ponti ran his record to 10-6-0 in 20 starts. The $360,000 winner’s share boosted his earnings to $4,123,800.
Gio Ponti paid $2.80, $2.30 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite. Mission Approved returned $17.80 and $7.40. Expansion paid $2.80 to show.
Hollywood Park — Awesome Gem upset defending champion Rail Trip to win the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup. Awesome Gem ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.31 under David Flores. The 7-year-old gelding’s seventh victory in 36 career starts pushed his earnings to more than $2 million.
Awesome Gem paid $18, $4.40 and $2.40 at 8-1 odds in the field of six.