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Breeders' Cup 2017

Point of Entry Stakes Claim in Man O' War

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 2:13.87.


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 second-best.”


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 was scratched.


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 Javier Castellano.


Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese




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Older Comments about Point of Entry Stakes Claim in Man O' War...

It is kind of nice to think that the Europeans can't send over their second level horses and win all the biggest American turf races like they did last year.

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