Point of Entry will
try for his third consecutive Grade 1 score and fifth victory in a row as he
heads the list of probable starters for the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf
Classic Invitational at 1 ½ miles on the turf.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who has posted nine graded stakes
wins on the turf this year, the 4-year-old Dynaformer colt has dominated over a
distance of ground on the grass this year. The Phipps Stable color-bearer began
his streak in April at Keeneland, winning a 1 ½-mile allowance and earning his
first stakes win in the Grade 2 Elkhorn, also at 1 ½ miles. Back in New York,
Point of Entry was a 3 ½-length winner of the Grade 1, 1 3/8-mile Man o’
War on July 14, and on August 18 added a four-length score in the Grade 1 Sword
Dancer Invitational at 1 ½ miles.
Trainer Dale Romans has enjoyed a banner year as well, thanks in part
to Priscilla Vaccarezza’s multiple graded stakes winner Little Mike, who will be making his first
start at 1 ½ miles. The 5-year-old Spanish Steps gelding has hit the board in
all five starts this year, including victories in the Grade 1 Arlington Million
and the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.
One of the Romans-trained Donegal Racing duo of Grade 1 Pacific Classic
winner Dullahan and Grade 1
Secretariat runner-up Finnegans Wake
is likely to contest the Joe Hirsch, according to Byrnes. The other will
probably run in the Grade 1, $400,000 Jamaica Handicap for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8
miles on October 6 at Belmont.
Expected to join Point of Entry and Romans’ horses in the
starting gate for the Joe Hirsch are Center
Divider, seventh in the Sword Dancer; Game Ball, who was eighth; Lucky
Chappy, third in the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga; Grade 1 winner Prince Will I Am, who came off a year
layoff to finish sixth in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at the Spa, and Treasure Beach, sixth in the Arlington