Bejarano Pinpoints Pace in Sir Barton
by Dan Liebman
Date Posted: 5/21/2005 4:43:58 PM
Last Updated: 1/30/2006 11:37:54 AM

Pinpoint wanted the lead and Rafael Bejarano made sure he got it, controlling the pace and having plenty left for the stretch run in the $100,000 Sir Barton Stakes Saturday at Pimlico.

The winner is trained by Nick Zito and owned by Arthur Hancock, the same connections who a day earlier won the grade III Miss Preakness with Burnish.

Hancock, the owner of Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., also bred Pinpoint. The 3-year-old colt is by Peaks and Valleys out of the Halo mare Identify. Halo stood at Stone Farm and among his many top runners was Hancock's Sunday Silence.

Bejarano had to hustle Pinpoint from the seven post in the eight-horse field. He made the front and then slowed the fractions down as best he could, leading the opening quarter of the 1 1/16-mile race by 2 1/2 lengths in :24.65 and the half-mile in :49.13. Down the backside, Bejarano eased slightly off the rail and let Killenaule and John Velazquez through on the inside. Well, he let them through, but not by. They went six furlongs in 1:13.04.

As the field turned for home, Smokescreen, ridden by Jerry Bailey, came on the outside and looked like he might go by Pinpoint. But Bejarano had horse left and, when he switched his stick from his right to his left hand, Pinpoint responded and drove to the wire to win by three-quarters of a length.

"He broke fast," Bejarano noted. "I was comfortable in the front, and he was going strong at the end. I didn't have to urge him much. He can run all day."

"The early leader threw out an anchor every quarter," Bailey said. "The leader had it easy and we didn't."

Making his stakes debut in the Sir Barton, Pinpoint won for the third in four starts and more than doubled his earnings to $113,291.

"The farther he runs, the better he looks," Zito said. "He has talent and it looks like he is learning how to compete."

After his big move on the turn, Killenaule faded to finish five lengths behind Smokescreen in third. Favored Reel Legend, Jose Santos aboard, was a half-length farther back in fourth.

"We had to make up some ground after a slow pace," Santos said. "He's going to be okay."

Pinpoint completed the 8 ½ furlongs in 1:44.43 and paid $10.80, $5, and $4. Smokescreen returned $3.80 and $3, and Killenaule paid $4.80.

(Chart, Equibase)

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