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Breeders' Cup 2017

Point of Entry Targets BC Turf

Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has November 3 circled on his calendar as Point of Entry will now target the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita after picking up his third straight Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.


McGaughey said he was concerned when the turf came up yielding on Saturday but was impressed with how Point of Entry coped with the off going and other adversity in his 1 ¾-length win over European invader Treasure Beach.


“I did think [Treasure Beach] was the horse to beat when the turf came up that way,” said McGaughey. “But [the turf] will be hard out there [in California]. All things being equal, I’m looking forward to going. Five weeks in between [starts], he’ll be in good form after running on that soft ground. He’s a pretty durable horse.


“I think he won yesterday not on his best race with the pace scenario and the way the turf was. The tactics of Treasure Beach, I think, fooled us a little bit. That horse opened up around the turn and floated us way out there. He was able to overcome all of that and still win pretty impressively, I thought.”


A win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf would make Point of Entry, a Phipps Stable homebred who owns additional Grade 1 wins in this year’s Man o’ War and Sword Dancer Invitational, a strong contender for Champion Turf Male and Horse of the Year, McGaughey said.


“I think that should be looked at,” said McGaughey. “We’ll see how he does in the Breeders’ Cup, but I think with his winning streak and how dominant he has been in some of his races that an Eclipse Award should be in his sight if he makes a decent effort out there.”


McGaughey said he has no definite plans for when he’ll send Point of Entry to Santa Anita, but mentioned that in the past he has given his turf horses a workout over that venue’s turf course prior to the Breeders’ Cup.


“The two times I’ve had some luck out there both horses had worked,” said McGaughey. “Lure, a long time ago, worked over the turf course [before he won the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Mile], and Dancing Forever, who finished third [in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf], had worked over the course, so that’s going to be in my mind.”


McGaughey said he will regroup with both Hymn Book, eighth in the Grade 1 TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, and Hit It Rich, seventh in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational.


“I was disappointed in [Hymn Book’s] effort,” said McGaughey, who trains both runners for Stuart S. Janney III. “I thought he was coming into the race really well. I thought he would like the track. Maybe it was heavier than I thought it was. Maybe I need to drop him down a notch or two. He seems to be OK. I’ll sort of wait and see if there will be some sort of two-turn race at Aqueduct and see what he does there.


“I don’t think [Hit It Rich] handled the turf at all. None of the American horses did, I guess, because European horses were 1-2-3-4. With Point of Entry, I didn’t know if he would like it or not like it, but with Hit It Rich I felt like she might not like it with her running style. Javier [Castellano] said she was running along, was very relaxed and going along fine, but when he said, ‘Let’s go on’ along the backside and maybe open up a little bit and maybe make those other horses commit some, she didn’t open up. I realize she was jumping into another league, so if she comes out of the race fine I’ll just point her for the Long Island [Grade 3, Aqueduct Racetrack, November 10].”




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Older Comments about Point of Entry Targets BC Turf...

For my $, Point of Entry is the best horse racing in America right now. At any distance, on any surface. It's been awhile since America's had a middle distance turf horse that's made the European trainers sit up and take notice the way Point of Entry has with the BC Turf looming just around the corner. I'm just thankful Santa Anita went back to conventional dirt on the main track, because I have a hunch if the pro-ride surface were still be used there that Shug McGaughey might well target the BC Classic instead of the BC Turf with Point of Entry? And that would be a major bummer, because I'm really excited to find out how well Point of Entry stacks up against some of the top European horses at 12f on turf in this year's BC Turf!!

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