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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Animal Kingdom & Point of Entry: The Showdown

Animal Kingdom Point of Entry
Forty years ahead of their time, the Electric Light Orchestra warned us all, “There’s gonna be a showdown.” Yes, ELO, you were right … we are, “Heading for a showdown.” On a collision course for Saturday’s Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap since a pair of strong, but ultimately unsatisfying, second-place finishes in the Breeders’ Cup, Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry are a mere five days away from The Showdown in the Sunshine State.
Two of America’s finest horses, the pair will both be making their highly anticipated seasonal debuts in the nine furlong grass test at Gulfstream Park. Adding to the intrigue of the race is the likelihood of both five-year-old stars heading to Dubai after the Showdown, albeit in different races. But the Dubai World Cup and the Dubai Sheema Classic are still a little down the road, and trainers, Graham Motion and Shug McGaughey have their charges ready in the here and now. This terrific turf test is just a few tantalizing days away.
To the casual fan, Animal Kingdom is the better known of the pair, and for good reason. The Team Valor runner burst into the living room of millions of homes all over the world after striding home an impressive winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, injury would keep him off the track after his solid Triple Crown run, and then again for much of last year. He did enough in his only two races of 2012 to capture everyone’s imagination, though. A rousing optional claimer win over this same Gulfstream course came early in the year. Comeback #2 was even more impressive, as he jumped straight into the fire of the Breeders’ Cup Mile without benefit of a prep. A fast charging runner-up to Horse of the Year, Wise Dan, following a trip besieged with traffic, left all who saw yearning for more from the Derby winner. Making Saturday’s Showdown just a little more special is the realization that this will be almost certainly Animal Kingdom’s last race in the United States. A deserving favorite on Saturday, things will not be made easy for his America farewell.
Simply stated, Point of Entry is a turf monster. The powerful bay son of Dynaformer was flying high as could be last fall on a five-race winning streak, including the grade one triumvirate of the Man o’ War, Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. In each of his five consecutive victories, he dominated his competition with disdainful ease. A cross-country trip to Santa Anita, though, would end his hopes for an Eclipse Award when he was surprised in the Breeders’ Cup Turf by the gutsy, Little Mike. He may not have had quite the trouble of Animal Kingdom in the Mile, but he also found himself bottled up at the wrong time. Finally clear to stretch his legs, he made up quick ground to miss catching the winner by only a half-length. This year, Point of Entry will be running for the home team at Gulfstream Park, as the main man at the Florida oval, Frank Stronach, has purchased a sizable interest in America’s top distance turf horse.
And just in case it sounds like I am previewing a match race, I would be remiss in not mentioning the excellent New York-bred, Unbridled Command, who is also expected to be part of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap field. By the end on 2012, there was no American 3yo grass horse going any better than him, as evidenced by his smart score in the grade 1 Hollywood Derby to finish the season. But let’s face it; this race is primarily about Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry. It is the race we all want to see. There’s gonna be a Showdown…


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Older Comments about Animal Kingdom & Point of Entry: The Showdown...

It amaze me how many people think AK could not win the race. I love AK and I think Johnny V as his pilot could have make a difference in the outcome or if Joel would have a bit more patient but I really don't blame Joel, it is first time on AK and I really don't think he knows AK strength and weakness like Johnny does.
ILuvTurfRacing, just to be sure I understand you right, are you saying that you believe the premature move had little effect on the outcome? This isn't a trick question, as I've only gotten deeply into turf the past year, I just wanted to know if I'm getting this the right way. Thanks
Not sure why Joel Rosario felt the need to make that pre-mature move with Animal Kingdom and get him involved in an early speed duel with Salto? But when it came to the business end, it looked like Point of Entry just simply had the more potent turn of foot on the day, IMO.
yuckichan, Tough decision as I do not want AK to lose, and I went back n forth for hours. Maybe it should have been obvious to choose the other way, with AK on top. Point Of Entry, curious to see how /if he speeds up earlier, stays closer earlier; Animal Kingdom, Unbridled Command, Film Making. Huge race. Hope it's as great as anticipated and that all here get to watch.
I love Animal Kingdom as much as Miss Mary loves Royal Delta...he is my choice, pure blind love and loyalty. We saw how he was rolling at a mile, the 1 1/8th ought to do him well. That and a good trip from post 6...
I don't think Unbridled Command will be 15-1...if he is at least 8-1...I'll bet on him
Animal Kingdom; Unbridled Command, Point of Entry; Salto
Anyone know the post time for the Donn?
zsswordxz, I respect that line of thinking, for sure.
I Don't doubt your assessment jay but I won't bet against Johnny V.
As great as Johnny V. is, I believe Rosario + AK beat Velasquez + Point of Entry.
Lets see how many trick in that bad Johnny V have to out maneuver AK and Rosario. AK should win this but I'm not counting out POE single my main man will be the pilot.
Interesting to see Rosario riding Animal Kingdom, but he is a good rider and should fit the horse well. I am going to wait to see the odds, but might try to beat both Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry with Unbridled Command.
Very common, TBDF. I bet like that (more on the conservative edge) until I was about, I don't know, 28 or 29. It took me a while to gain the confidence to put big stacks on the line. Betting is the second reason I enjoy horse racing, the HORSES are the reason I enjoy the sport, handicapping/wagering is just for MORE fun.
A big bet for my familiy is $10!!! It's a shock if I go over $5 on a MCL!
Same with TBDF, Dressage. My pop (or uncle, whichever one) would place bets for me whenever we went to the track (about once a month or so). My dad (again, or uncle), would place any bet I wanted, and they payed for it. But, they would never let me bet over about $10.
Did the same when I was a kid! I would dig up what I had of my money and beg my dad to put in a bet for me :)
Yep, its the right race for AK for sure! But I always have somebody else place a bet for me every now and then...*cough every race cough that I go to cough*
Excellent post for Animal Kingdom! Love it when he draws the outside
I'm also too young to bet. I'm just in it for the horses. Best sport on the planet to fall in love with, and I'm sure glad I did.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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