Castleton Lyons' GIO PONTI (h. 5, Tale of the Cat- Chipeta Springs by Alydar) was named Champion Turf Male and Champion Older Male at the 2009 Eclipse Awards on January 18th in Beverly Hills, CA.
GIO PONTI's stellar 2009 campaign solidified his championship in both categories. With four consecutive Grade 1 wins in the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (Santa Anita), the G1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan (Belmont), the G1 Man o' War Stakes (Belmont), the G1 Arlington Million (Arlington Park), and an impressive 2nd to ZENYATTA in the Breeders' Cup Classic (Santa Anita), there was little doubt that GIO PONTI would reign supreme in his respective divisions at the 2009 Eclipse Awards. GIO PONTI's dual-Eclipse awards has made him the first horse in almost 30 years to be named both Champion Older Male and Champion Turf Male. Not since JOHN HENRY in 1981, has the feat been accomplished.
This was a very proud accomplishment for Castleton Lyons and its President, Shane Ryan. GIO PONTI was bred by Castleton Lyons' sister-farm in Ireland: Kilboy Estate, was born and raised at Castleton Lyons, and raced by Castleton Lyons. During Mr. Ryan's acceptance speech he recalled walking the farm in 2001 with his father, the late Dr. Tony Ryan, the founder of Castleton Lyons. He remembers during their long hike over the new farm that they had just acquired, that was already so rich with equine history, that Dr. Ryan turned to him and said, "One day, this will produce Champions again." Dr. Ryan's confident wisdom was indeed prophetic.
Congratulations to all of GIO PONTI's connections!
The voting for Champion Turf Male was as follows: Gio Ponti, 206; Conduit, 22; Presious Passion, 3; Court Vision, 1.
The voting for Champion Older Male: Gio Ponti, 184; Einstein, 18; Kodiak Kowboy, 16; Macho Again, 5; Furthest Land, 2; Rail Trip, 2; Well Armed, 1.