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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Mixed Emotions on the Point of Entry Decision

When the news came in that Point of Entry would not be headed to Dubai, and would instead stick with an American campaign highlighted by the Arlington Million and the Breeders’ Cup, as reported by Mike Welsch of DRF, I all at once had several conflicting emotions. 
 
Like many, I suspected last year that Point of Entry might be something special, and that notion was only strengthened by what he did on Saturday. He may not be the absolute most accomplished horse in the country yet, but I truly believe he is the most dominant. Despite his topnotch performance to defeat Animal Kingdom at nine furlongs, I think he is even better going longer. At 1 ½ miles, I consider him one of America’s best grass horses in many years, with the potential to be our absolute best since the days of John Henry and Manila. As such, I was really looking forward to the day when he travelled overseas and took his best shot against a field of international superstars. 

Honestly, the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe would be my first choice for the Phipps Stable powerhouse, but I figured a big performance in the Dubai Sheema Classic would be a great start. What a feather in the cap of American racing it would be to see Point of Entry coming out on top over the likes of Cirrus des Aigles and Orfevre.

On the other hand, as a fan and supporter of Arlington Park, I am happy to see that the Arlington Million is one of his major goals. It will be wonderful to see a horse like this come to my local track to compete in the biggest day of racing in Chicago. Shouldn't fans all over America have this chance?

Furthermore, when I relayed the news of Point of Entry staying in America, the opinions were very one-sided. It seems that most commenters were quite pleased that the Shug McGaughey star would not be leaving the United States anytime soon. I cannot really blame them – they want to see him run in America, where they can keep a close eye on him and enjoy his abilities. 

I believe the majority also see staying at home as better for the horse. More travel translates to more things that can go wrong, even if that just means wearing the big horse down. Again, I cannot argue with that. It goes without saying that I would like nothing better than to see Point of Entry run to the top of his potential for as long as he can.

There is no right or wrong answer here, and I certainly believe his connections have full right to do whatever they want with their star. But as a fan, I cannot help to wonder what might have been. 

I’ve already seen excellent horses dominate a series of races within our borders. And I’ve certainly seen too many good international horses come to the U.S. and win many of our most important races on grass to count. What I really haven’t seen is an American go abroad and take it to the world’s best on their surface of choice – turf.

In the end, I guess it boils down to taking the slightly easier path to become a great American horse, or taking the more difficult path to do something historic. Like I said, there is no right or wrong answer, but truth be told, I was rooting for the latter.
 

 

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Older Comments about Mixed Emotions on the Point of Entry Decision...

Shadowno- I guess you missed the part where I said 3-4 top races are in england and one in France. The Champions stakes is an Extremely important race and skipping the ARC for the Champions stakes is not a step down quality wise.
IHB hit the Game on Dude issue spot on. He is getting a bit long in the tooth and more to the point is a gelding so winning the Whitney or any other eastern race is of little long term signiigance. Much wiser to run a Big Cap, Californian, HGC, Pacific Classic campaign leading into the BCC than amass frequent flyer miles. Add to the fact while obviously a top 10 handicap horse, he is not a "name" that will bring people out to any major track. It is a no-brainer to keep doing exactly what his connections have been doing.
Since Game On Dude hasn't been proclaimed, "the best horse of all time," as that honor belongs to another recently retired horse in 2012, has nothing to prove, why shouldn't his connections do the smart thing, which is exactly what their doing, and keep him in California. While it's true he can't compete effectively with the top six horses in N/A as of the end of 2012, being the 7th best horse in N/A isn't a bad thing. In point of fact I believe many people in the business would like to have a horse as good as Game On Dude. As for my opinions on horses and horse racing, just to clear up any misconceptions. In my entire life there hasn't been one horse I've hated, or disliked on a personal level. That long explanation may seem redundant, but this is HRN and if one doesn't cross the Ts and dot the i,s it will be misconstrued or twisted. For instance a response like, "I remember you didn't like so and so in this race, would be typical."(for any person to hate a horse, an animal which as far as I'm concerned only bring joy into ones life, is beyond my comprehension) I don't see how attacking the position given to a horse on a historical basis can be construed as personal, as in "Another attack on Frankel." The Irony is that everyone who attacked my comment says exactly the same thing as I do.That although he's one of the greatest horses ever, he's not the greatest. Why did Frankel have to run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe? because up to that point in time he hadn't gone the classic European distance of 12 furlongs and he only had one race left before he would be retired according to his connections. Beating horses at 10 furlongs, who have won at 12 furlongs, is not the same as Frankel actually winning at 12 furlongs, and you well know it! Who proclaimed Frankel the greatest horse of all time? here's a partial list, his trainer Sir Henry Cecil, the racing manager to Prince Khalid Abdulla, Teddy Grimthorpe. Writing a few days after the race, Marcus Armytage said: "Forget ratings, handicappers’ assessments or any other method by which you measure one racehorse against another, it is unlikely that the world in either this or any previous generation has ever seen a better racehorse than Frankel... What makes him unique is his ability to go a top class sprinter’s pace over distance... he is a lightning strike of genetics which may not be repeated for 100 years.".www.telegraph.co.uk › Sport › Horse Racing. Also Simon Rowlands at Timeform. While Frankel did do everything his trainer asked of him, and enough to be ranked among the greatest horses of all time, he didn't do enough to be accorded the status of "the greatest of all time" and that is exactly my point of contention. If you went to Europe, which I'vedone on many occasions, and mentioned a horse who had proven them self at 10 furlongs, was undefeated to boot, as the greatest of all time you'd be a laughing stock. My personal opinion of Frankel is that he can and should be mentioned with the greatest horses of all time, He just can't be put at the #1 spot because he never ran the 12 furlongs required. Extra distance can't just be assumed and given, it must be done on the track. Frankel is a magnificent horse who IMO had the potential to achieve the status of #1 accorded him, but came up 2 furlongs short.
So Newmarket to Paris 335 miles. Not much of a trip if you have a shipper who is not unraveled by travel. Get em up. Put on the wraps. Put in van, short ride to plane. short flight to France. Done before lunch. Happens with some regularity for the more prestigous races no doubt. Louisville to LA 2085 miles.
A good example of a horse that SHOULD ship is Game On Dude out west is beyond sub par for GR1 level. If he goes east and ran in a Whitney, Stephen Foster, or JCGC wouldn't that be a better fit for him, instead of staying in only California and winning Graded stakes vs no one. When better horses fly in they beat him. Ron The greek, Dullahan, Fort Larned etc.
Let's just say that a flight from Kentucky to Manchester is 5 hours, how long is a flight from Kentucky to California?. So for example if Wise Dan, or POE fly from the east to go to The Breeders cup, why not in turn fly east over the pond to run at Ascot outside of london?. To face better competition in your discipline/Division/Distance...etc. Now I don't think a horse needs to ship anywhere if they have top flight racing within in their own country.
They would fly out of Mancehster Airport to Paris which is 1.5 hours.
Frankel was stabled in Newmarket, which is 540 Km(6 hours) from Paris. Aqueduct to saratoga is 300+ KM (3.5-4hrs) all driving figures.
London to Paris is about 250 miles or a 40 minute plane ride. Little farther than Aqueduct to Saratoga just to put the shipping distance in perspective, not saying the animal had to or should have shipped..
Icy- Why did Frankel have to ship to France?. He was running 8f until almost the end of the summer. Frances op 10f race the Prix Ganay is run in the start of the summer. They don't have many GR1 10f races. So he is to skip the Juddmonte for the Prix dollar, and historically the Juddmonte(Aka Benson& Hedges) is a better race over the last 40 years. Just to let you know the Top GR1 middle distance races in europe (classics aside) are the Eclipse Stakes, King george/Queen E II, The Arc, and the Champions stakes. 3-4 are in England. Again why did Frankel have to ship when the Champions stakes is just as important to some as the Arc is. His beating two top shelf 12f horses in the Champions stakes was not enough?. you compare Zenyatta to Frankel as far as shipping...16-17 of her wins came at southern California tracks..vs WHO exactly?. England hosts the Top meets which is why he had no reason to ship. Winning the Arc does not define a horse as the greatest ever( I am certainly not calling Frankel the greatest ever). Plus Time form is not who changed Dancing Braves ratingthe World Thoroughbred Rankings conference that this was done, which I may add was done by representatives from all the Top racing nations so there is no BIAS. Timeform has Dancing Brave 7 pounds behind Frankel, with Seabird, Tudor Minstrel, Mill Reef etc ahead of DB.
Fantastic point icy...
On The Gallop/ northport/ I understand the full picture better than you may think. America is a nation where dirt racing is the main focus, the rest of the world uses turf.Natually the better turf horse should appear in the rest of the world. It's really not that hard to grasp. What I was pointing out in my first comment is the double standard in play in saying POE should ship, while when Frankel was criticised for not crossing the English Channel there was an uproar on this site. Another thing I didn't bring up was that Zenyatta another horse who was a notoriously bad shipper was constantly criticized for not traveling. However people didn't make allowance for the fact she shipped 2,000 miles to Kentucky and put on a fantastic performance. What I really would like an answer to, from anyone, is how a horse can be acclaimed the greatest of all time and not run in even one of the greatest races of all time. For European's that would be the Arc. My god, Ribot won it twice, once as a 3yo and then again as a 4yo, was never challenged in any race, and this horse Frankel, who is certainly among the greats but needed the Arc to challenge for the title he was literally given, is placed above him. Not to even mention Time Form's devaluation of prior horses to elevate him, such as Dancing Brave to mention just one, and I'm biased???
Sir Henry missed the Juddmonte International because he was undergoing treatments, I can hardly compare that to having Frankel race in the US without Cecil. If you were ill, and training the greatest horse you and possibly your country had ever seen, the highest valued horse in the world, whose days racing were numbered, you would be fine flying him to America (though it is known Frankel doesn't travel well by plane) to race in the US? As for you expecting CDA and Orfevre to come to America to prove themselves - the highest quality international turf horses will stay where the richest and highest quality turf fields are: England, France, Australia, Japan, and Dubai. I don't think that POE's owners care about the esteem of having an international turf horse, and considering the difference in US turf styles vs. the major turf racing nations, I think keeping POE at home is a good decision, as he can easily dominate in his field. Who is saying Animal Kingdom is the perfect horse? in 4 years of racing he has a single G1 win, and lots of excuses
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • icyhotboo · northport/ I understand the full picture better than you may think. America is a nation where dirt racing is the main focus, the rest of the world uses turf.Natually the better turf horse should appear in the rest of the world. It's really not that hard to grasp. What I was pointing out in my first comment is the double standard in play in saying POE should ship, while when Frankel was criticised for not crossing the English Channel there was an uproar on this site. As you stated well, that's a long way to travel for either horse (talking about POE, Dubai / Frankel to America, Australia, or Japan). Another thing I didn't bring up was that Zenyatta another horse who was a notoriously bad shipper was constantly criticized for not traveling. However people didn't make allowance for the fact she shipped 2,000 miles to Kentucky and put on a great performance. What I really would like an answer to, from anyone, is how a horse can be acclaimed the greatest of all time and not run in even one of the greatest races of all time. For European's that would be the Arc. My god, Ribot won it twice, once as a 3yo and then again as a 4yo, was never challenged, and this horse Frankel, who is certainly among the greats but needed the Arc to challenge for the title he was literally give is placed above him. Not to even mention Time Form's devaluation of prior horses, and I'm biased??? · 680 days ago
  • icyhotboo · northport/ On The Gallaop/ I understand the full picture better than you may think. America is a nation where dirt racing is the main focus, the rest of the world uses turf.Natually the better turf horse should appear in the rest of the world. It's really not that hard to grasp. What I was pointing out in my first comment is the double standard in play in saying POE should ship, while when Frankel was criticised for not crossing the English Channel there was an uproar on this site. As you stated well, that's a long way to travel for either horse (talking about POE, Dubai / Frankel to America, Australia, or Japan). Another thing I didn't bring up was that Zenyatta another horse who was a notoriously bad shipper was constantly criticized for not traveling. However people didn't make allowance for the fact she shipped 2,000 miles to Kentucky and put on a great performance. What I really would like an answer to, from anyone, is how a horse can be acclaimed the greatest of all time and not run in even one of the greatest races of all time. For European's that would be the Arc. My god, Ribot won it twice, once as a 3yo and then again as a 4yo, was never challenged, and this horse Frankel, who is certainly among the greats but needed the Arc to challenge for the title he was literally given is placed above him. Not to even mention Time Form's devaluation of prior horses, and I'm biased??? · 679 days ago
Certainly you can understand Shug McGaughey aiming Point of Entry for the Arlington Million and ultimately another crack at the BC Turf. But the Million is mid to late August and the BC Turf early November. So you're talking about skipping the Dubai World Cup and/or Sheema Classic in late March because it may interfere with targets in mid-August and early November? That's exactly why American horses aren't winning the Dubai World Cup, Sheema Classic, or Duty Free these days. The connections of the best possible horses that we could send never do so. There's not a doubt in my mind that Wise Dan would be a major player in the Dubai World Cup and would likely run rough shod over a Dubai Duty Free field if they chose to go that route. The same for Point of Entry. I have no doubt he'd be a major player in the Dubai World Cup or the Sheema Classic. No disrespect intended to Royal Delta when I said we don't send the best possible horses. But historically, American horses who run exclusively on conventional dirt just haven't fared that well on Meydan's tapeta surface. I actually wonder if Animal Kingdom might not also be better suited for the Dubai Duty Free on turf at 9f instead of the Dubai World Cup on tapeta at 10f?
What mixed emotions, the Mighty Frankle never traveled out of his comfort zone and has been declared the Worlds Best, but why is it in America we don't respect our gifted ones unless they travel overseas to run in race's such as the Arc and so forth, where as in other countries they idolize there gifted runners and tout them not put them down for one reason or another. Point Of Entry won 4 G1 last year and that here in the states is still not enough to garner respect by the so called American Racing Fans, instead we find ways to put them down for doing enough. But the real question is what is enough to statisfy Americans so as not to be so negative year after year about our American talent such as Point Of Entry. Makes one wonder doesn't it Hmmmm.........
I have mixed emotions on this as well. I feel that Point of Entry would NOT embarrass himself in even the biggest turf races overseas. Note that I am not saying he would win all or even some of them. I am just saying he would hold his own in them. That said, I am glad we will get to see him run here in the US simply because I think he's a very good horse and it will be a joy to watch him this season. As for individual horses (such as Zenyatta or Frankel) shipping or not shipping - I believe that there is a lot that goes on in the background that we fans are simply not privy to. Some horses ship better than others. As fans we will rarely know which ones - or which ones have some minor medical issues, or the like which might prevent them from being shipped. Heck, for all we know there might even be owners or trainers with medical problems which prevent lots of travel, or even (gasp) fears of flying in the human connections. I will not condemn connections for making travel or non-travel plans because I do not know what is going on in the background with the horse or human connections that impact the decision making.
If Point of Entry did go to Dubai, my personal opinion is that could possibly his last race of 2013 simply because of the fact that with the travel and everything it knocks a horse out usually for the rest of the year. So if he stays here in the states and goes to the Arlington Million he might then be able to go to the Breeders' Cup in November.
If Point of Entry did go to Dubai, my personal opinion is that could possibly his last race of 2013 simply because of the fact that with the travel and everything it knocks a horse out usually for the rest of the year. So if he stays here in states and goes to the Arlington Million he might then be able to go to the Breeders' Cup in November.
I am disappointed Point of Entry is not going overseas. Its not often that we (America) get to say we have a "world class" turf runner that has the talent and international credentials to become a top turf sire standing in the USA. I was hoping Point of Entry was going to become the new Gio Ponti. Now I will keep my fingers crossed that Little Mike stays healthy and goes back to Arlington to defend his crown.
I have no problem with this. He will most likely run the same campaign as last year , but maybe squeeze in the Milliion at Arlington.
  • On The Gallop's · If Point Of Entry can win the Arlington Millions and BC Turf he would be IMO the 2nd best Grass horse Bred in the USA next to The Great Mare Dahlia. Dahlia's record in the Europe and the USA is uncomparable. · 682 days ago

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 
  
As Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also serves on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
  
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives in Suburban Chicago with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra, where he is a professional golf instructor when he is not following the horses.