Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry tuned
up for next Saturday’s Grade 1 Man o’War with a bullet half-mile breeze
(48.93) over Belmont Park’s inner turf course Sunday morning. The
$600,000 Man o’War will be the 4-year-old’s first start since taking
the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland on April 27.
“Being a Dynaformer, it took him awhile to
come around,” said the colt’s Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “He
won an allowance race down there [at Gulfstream Park] in December,
which was a good race When he came back [in an optional claimer on
February 26], Johnny [Velazquez] said they were all going a little bit
earlier and he waited and got himself in trouble and finished fourth.
His two races at Keeneland were good races, and I just thought after I
ran him back in 13 days [between an allowance victory on April 12 and
the Elkhorn on April 27] that I’d give him a bit of a blow here and
hopefully have a fresh horse for the rest of the year. I think he’s a
true mile and three-eighths to a mile and a half kind of horse.”
McGaughey also reported that Donn Handicap winner Hymn Book,
second in yesterday’s Suburban after stumbling badly at the start,
seemed to come back well and likely would be pointed for the Grade 1
Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on August 4.
“I thought he ran a winning race yesterday
and if he comes out of it fine, I’m going to try to run him in the
Whitney,” McGaughey said. “He kind of stumbled, and [Endorsement] sort
of came out or in, I’m not sure which one it was. By the time Garcia
got [Hymn Book] back together, he was out the back door somewhere. To
make that kind of a long run at a horse who had kind of a perfect trip,
you have to come around them all and it’s difficult to catch up.”
Overall though, McGaughey said he was pleased with Hymn Book’s effort behind Mucho Macho Man.
“I thought he ran awfully good, obviously
you’d like to know if he’d been in the right position, but we weren’t
and the winner was,” McGaughey said. “It’s disappointing to lose, but
you can’t be disappointed in the effort he put in. I think the winner is
a nice horse. [Trainer Kathy Ritvo] has done a great job with him and
I’m glad for her.