Point of Entry made his Grade 1 debut a winning
one, stalking a slow pace and responding emphatically when given his cue to
take the $600,000 Man o’ War on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Looking for his third straight win, Point of Entry remained within
striking range in second as he raced outside early leader Center
Divider, who dawdled through fractions of 52.05 and 1:16.68 over the firm
Widener turf. Point of Entry drew along on even terms nearing the quarter pole
and dismissed the pacesetter when put to a drive in upper stretch, powering
clear to a 3 ½-length victory.
“I thought the horse inside of me [Center Divider] would be
going, but he wasn’t going [fast], so after the break I let my horse
settle right there,” said winning jockey Jose Lezcano. “He
wasn’t pulling or anything. He did everything right. I think any distance
would be good for him.”
Point of Entry, the 5-2 second choice, returned $7.90 for a $2 win
wager to his backers in the crowd of 5,948 and completed 1 3/8 miles in
The Man o’ War was Point of Entry’s first start since his 1
½-length victory in the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 27 at Keeneland, his graded
stakes bow. Fifteen days prior to his Elkhorn
triumph, the 4-year-old won a Keeneland allowance by 1 ¼ lengths.
“I think he’s learning. I told [Lezcano], ‘Just be
careful he’s not too sharp off when you come off the layoff,’”
said Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who trains the homebred for Phipps Stable. “I
could tell in the paddock he was ready.”
McGaughey added that he has penciled in the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword
Dancer Invitational on August 18 at Saratoga Race Course for Point of
Entry’s next start.
Point of Entry, a son of Dynaformer, is 5-2-1 in 12 starts and 4-1-1 in
seven races on turf. The Man o’ War victory, worth $360,000, lifted his
earnings to $574,490.
Center Divider, also competing in a Grade 1 for the first time, held
second by one length over Tahoe
Lake, who was three
lengths clear of fourth-place finisher Newsdad.
“Rosie [Napravnik] rode a beautiful race [aboard Center
Divider],” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Chad Brown, trainer of Center
Divider. “Nice and easy, no one came next to her and she was able to stay
up there and keep the pace slow. Jose just had more horse and we were
Treasure Beach, the 2010 Group 1 Irish Derby winner who flew in from
Ireland and went off as the 4-5 favorite in the Man o’ War, never fired
and finished fifth, beaten 10 ¼ lengths.
“He was moving fine, he just didn’t do anything,”
said Jamie Spencer, rider aboard Treasure
Beach. “[The pace]
was steady, but he was a bit rank early, so I had to get him back.”
Hudson Steele and Game ball completed the order of finish. Philly Ace
Lezcano and Rosie Napravnik combined to win seven of the 10 races on
the card, with the former also taking race 3 with Lawless Miss ($9.10) and race
7 with Plainview
($5.10). Napravnik’s wins came in race 2 with My Smartness ($6.00), race
4 with Night Officer ($9.90), race 5 with Power Blast ($6.00), and race 10 with
All Zipped Up ($15.20).
Going into the final day of the spring/summer meet, Lezcano is third in
the jockey standings with 41 wins, with Napravnik six wins behind in fourth.
Ramon Dominguez leads all jockeys with 70 wins, 13 ahead of second-place jockey
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese