Champion Gio Ponti will contest the Breeders' Cup Mile instead of the $5 million Classic on Nov. 5, his owners Castleton Lyons announced Thursday.
Gio Ponti, the two-time defending Eclipse Award winner for champion turf male, ran second in the Mile behind Goldikova last season and was second in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic behind Zenyatta when it was contested at Santa Anita Park over a synthetic surface.
The bay son of Tale of the Cat was pre-entered in both races Monday with first preference in the Classic, but that was done because he had already earned an automatic berth into the Mile off his triumph in the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 8.
"Having discussed the options with (trainer) Christophe Clement, we both feel that we should aim Gio Ponti for the Mile as 8 furlongs looks to be his perfect distance given his impressive repeat victory in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland," Shane Ryan, president of Castleton Lyons, said in a statement.
Gio Ponti has earned 12 wins, including seven Grade I triumphs in 28 career starts and has lifetime earnings of $6,049,800.
Stacelita prepsfor Filly & Mare Turf
Multiple Grade/Group I winner Stacelita had her final serious work for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Thursday morning at Belmont Park, covering 5 furlongs in 1:02.96 under jockey Ramon Dominguez.
The 5-year-old mare, who finished third in the Grade I United Nations after arriving from Europe and then scored back-to-back Grade I victories in the Beverly D. and Flower Bowl Invitational, went in company with trainer Chad Brown's Juvenile Fillies Turf candidate Dayatthespa, who was clocked in 1:03.42 over a "good" inner turf course.
Brown also sent out Juvenile Turf hopeful Fantastic Song, who went 5 furlongs in 1:01.98 in company with Desert Sage.