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Points Offthebench Provides Yakteen With First Grade I Win

A celebration was in order for Tim Yakteen after Points Offthebench provided the first Grade I victory of the trainer’s nearly nine-year career with his own stable in Sunday’s Grade I $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes.

“What did I do? Went out to dinner with the owners (Don Crevier and Charles Martin),” Yakteen said Wednesday morning. “We all had big smiles on our faces.”

If things extended to past midnight, there was additional cause to celebrate. Monday was the 49th birthday for Yakteen, a former assistant for both Charlie Whittingham and Bob Baffert.

The Bing Crosby was Yakteen’s fourth stakes win at Del Mar. The first came on his 41st birthday (July 29, 2005) with Fortunately in the Daisycutter Handicap.

Points Offthebench prevailed by a head over Goldencents under Mike Smith and came out of the race in good shape. Yakteen said Points Offthebench, a 4-year-old son of Benchmark, was a possibility, but not a probability for the Grade II 7-furlong $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes, final event in Del Mar’s major sprint stakes series, on Sunday, August 25.

The Bing Crosby was part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge racing series and was a “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Yakteen said that Points Offthebench is Breeders’ Cup eligible and the target race would be the $2 million Sprint on dirt if Points Offthebench makes the November 1-2 event at Santa Anita.

Trainer Doug O’Neill was pleased with the effort by Goldencents. The Santa Anita Derby winner made his first start since the Preakness Stakes in May at Pimlico.

“He came out of it in great shape and we’re very proud of him,” O’Neill said. “He’s back on the beam. We’ll get him back to galloping and training and if his energy level remains high, we’ll shoot for the Pat O’Brien.”

Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella said that Crosby third-place finisher Jimmy Creed came out of the event fine. But Mandella was uncertain regarding future plans.

“I was kind of disappointed that he finished third (beaten 3 ¼ lengths) but I can’t figure out why. The Pat O’Brien is still a possibility. We’ll wait and see.”

Peter Miller, trainer of fifth-place finisher Comma to the Top, said the 5-year-old multi-stakes winner came out of the race with a bruised left front foot. “We’ll do a nuclear scan and see what we find,” Miller said. “Taking away nothing from the first three finishers, if Comma runs like he had been, he wins that race.”



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