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Bench Points Back at Del Mar

Trainer Tim Yakteen is happy to have 3-year-old gelding Bench Points back at Del Mar and back against California-bred competition in Wednesday’s featured $100,000 Real Good Deal Stakes.

Why wouldn’t he be? Bench Points, a son of Benchmark, won both the Graduation and I’m Smokin stakes, restricted to Cal-breds, in 2010 to build a perfect, 2-for-2 record at the track.

“Hopefully we can add to that,” Yakteen said Sunday outside Barn N. “But that’s a pretty good bunch. It’s not a walkover. The field is deep, but our horse is doing absolutely great and he loves it down here at Del Mar, so we’re looking for a big race from him.”

Bench Points will face seven rivals in the 7-furlong sprint on Polytrack.

The two victories at Del Mar were part of a 3-for-3 career start in 2010 for Bench Points. He came out of the I’m Smokin, however, with a bone chip in a knee that ended his 2-year-old campaign.

The record reached 4-0 in his comeback in February at Santa Anita before a third place finish in the Grade II San Felipe and seventh in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby quieted Kentucky Derby thoughts.

Bench Points comes in off a win in the Grade III Laz Barrera and sixth in the Grade I Triple Bend at Hollywood Park.

“Last year was one of those rides that you hope never ends,” Yakteen said. “He ran a monster race at the beginning of the meeting (Graduation) then came back and put in another huge effort. It (I’m Smokin’) wasn’t a clean start. We lost a shoe at the beginning, clipped heels, and he was still able to pull off the win.

“That’s when you know you’ve got a racehorse. When they get in trouble but are still able to collect themselves and pull it off.”



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