GIO PONTI'S DREFONG WINS ECLIPSE AWARD

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Drefong won an Eclipse Award for the 2016 Champion Sprinter at the prestigious industry-wide ceremony last Saturday night. Unbeaten in four starts as a sophomore, the son of Gio Ponti easily annexed two allowances at Santa Anita earlier in 2016, before graduating into G1 company in the King's Bishop at Saratoga last August. Drefong was never seriously challenged here as he came home 3 1/4 lengths to the good and he then reappeared in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last November. At Santa Anita the colt once again showed blinding speed and was always holding his rivals winning by 1 1/4 lengths at the wire. This was enough of a resume to persuade the majority of Eclipse voters that Drefong deserved this award, beating off A P Indian and Lord Nelson who both had significant race records in 2016. Bred by Frederick Allor, Michael Barnett and Anthony Warrender, the colt has been expertly handled by Bob Baffert throughout his career and provided his owners the Baoma Corporation with a wonderful experience which granted normal racing luck should only get better as the valuable Dubai Golden Shaheen has been suggested as an early aim in 2017. Mrs. Susan Chu gave a very nice speech upon receiving the award saying "I am so honored to be here today. We are here today because of Drefong. And really we started from nothing, but we were able to get here because we had an incredible trainer in Bob Baffert and a wonderful team, including Donato Lanni and jockeys Mike Smith and Martin Garcia. We are grateful for all of them. Racing isn't just a business for us. These horses are so much more. And they are deeply loved and cared for. My family, we talk to our horses in Mandarin and English, so they are bilingual. We thank you so much for this wonderful honor".
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