Point of Entry was nowhere to be found in the Horse of the Year discussion just a few short months ago, but oh how things have changed. Three powerful wins in grade 1 races in New York will tend to do that. These consecutive victories have catapulted him right into the discussion, but the question remains, can he really take home the whole ball of wax? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of his argument.
Pro – With a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Point of Entry would become the only horse in America with victories in four grade 1 races.
Con – Going into the Breeders’ Cup, Point of Entry lacks a win over real topnotch competition, with Treasure Beach, who has finished out of the money in every start but one this year, and Little Mike, who is very suspect at the 1 ½ mile distance, being the classiest horses he has faced.
Pro – His wins are fresh in the mind of voters as each of his grade 1 wins has come in the past three months. Momentum like this could be important in a tight year-end vote.
Con – The Horse of the Year voter should consider the entire year, and being a relative unknown for much of the year while starting the year by splitting a pair of allowance races could be considered a negative.
Pro – Point of Entry may dominate his division, or specialty of distance racing on turf, more than any other single horse in America.
Con – There is a real question though whether or not he is even the top grass horse in the nation considering the way Wise Dan has been tearing through the middle distance races. Not to mention that only two horses in the modern era have won the HOTY award while running exclusively on turf.
Pro – Distance racing is a real mark of quality in the minds of many, and no horse has excelled in races of longer than 10 furlongs this year like Point of Entry.
Con – While it is this author’s contention that distance racing should be more celebrated in the United States, the simple truth is that it is not. This fact leads to less depth of quality in the long distance races run here, at least before the Breeders’ Cup.
Pro – Point of Entry is not only winning grade 1 races, but he is doing it in New York, and in front of the largest concentration of Horse of the Year voters.
Con – Winning in New York is nice, but it is not the only thing. Point of Entry needs a signature win outside the Empire State to bolster his credentials. He will get that chance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Pro – Point of Entry is winning these races in dominant fashion.
So where does all this leave Point of Entry on his quest for the Horse of the Year award? I believe his selling points are strong enough to swing the vote to him over I’ll Have Another and the Classic winner with a win in the BC Turf, provided that Classic winner is not Game On Dude. I also believe that Game On Dude takes leadership of the race with a win in the Classic. If he does not win, Wise Dan can become the horse with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. If neither of them win on November 3, then the ball is in Point of Entry’s court.