Phipps Stable’s homebred Point of Entry , facing graded stakes company for the first time, shook clear at the top of the stretch and glided to a 1 1/2-length victory under John Velazquez in the $150,000 Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) on closing day at Keeneland April 27.
The 4-year-old son of Dynaformer came from off the pace at odds of 5-1 to win the 1 1/2-mile turf race in a final time of 2:29.45 on the firm going. It was his third win in his past four starts, and his second victory of the spring meet. The bay colt, trained by Shug McGaughey, scored a second-level allowance race on April 12 at the same distance.
"I was a little worried about running him back too soon," McGaughey. "But he had a nice breeze the other day. And as you saw, Johnny rode a perfect race. So it couldn't have been any better."
Point of Entry, bred in Kentucky, is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Matlacha Pass. He is a half-brother to multiple grade I winner Pine Island.
Tahoe Lake, sent off at 15-1, rallied along the inside under Manny Cruz for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Simmard and Javier Castellano Musketier, the 10-year-old horse who had won this event the last two years, finished fourth.
Keeneland announced attendance of 17,383 on closing day of the spring meet.
Newsdad, sent off as the 11-10 favorite, set the pace with Julien Leparoux aboard and carved out fractions of :25.18, :50.29, and 1:16.14. Simmard stalked him the whole way and took a narrow advantage coming off the third and final turn while running a mile in 1:40.80. He had a short lead when they straightened away, but Point of Entry was already revved up and making his four-wide move under Velazquez. He roared past the new leader approaching the eighth pole and had plenty left in the final furlong.
"At the half-mile pole he was right behind the other two horses and I was very confident from then on," said Velazquez following his third consecutive win in the Elkhorn. "I was just hoping that I'd get a clear run down the lane.
"When I pulled him out he responded right away. He probably needs a little target in front of him, but he did a good job."
Point of Entry’s only other stakes try came last year in the Curlin at Saratoga Race Course when finishing fourth on the main track. He raced twice previously this season, including a fourth-place effort at Gulfstream Park prior to his allowance win at Keeneland.
The winner improved his record to 4-2-1 from 11 starts and earnings of $214,490.
Point of Entry paid $13.20, $7.60, and $5. The exacta (2-7) returned $129 and the trifecta (2-7-5) was worth $626.