Point of Entry Gets First GI in Man o' War
It looks like Point of Entry has this winning thing figured out.
The Phipps Stable homebred built a three-race victory streak while taking his first grade I in the $600,000 Man o' War Stakes July 14 at Belmont Park (VIDEO) as the second choice in the field of seven.
Ridden confidently by jockey Jose Lezcano in his first start since winning the Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland April 27, the 4-year-old son of Dynaformer drew off to a solid 3 1/2-length score. Treasure Beach, the 4-5 favorite, finished fifth.
“I think he’s learning," remarked Hall of fame trainer Shug McGaughey. "I told Lezcano, ‘Just be careful he’s not too sharp off when you come off the layoff.’ I could tell in the paddock he was ready.”
McGaughey added that he has penciled in the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 18 for the colt's next start.
"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," Lezcano said. "He wasn’t pulling or anything. He did everything right."
"I thought Jose rode him great," McGaughey said. "When Center Divider broke on the lead, Point of Entry laid right there with him. He said he just relaxed and galloped along. When someone kind of came up there he just sort of eased into the bridle and Jose kept him in the clear. I thought it worked out really well."
Treasure Beach, the European invader from the barn of Aiden O'Brien, was far back in the field in the early going and never fired for jockey Jamie Spencer after being swung wide on the turn.
“He was moving fine, he just didn’t do anything," Spencer said. "(The pace) was steady, but he was a bit rank early, so I had to get him back.”
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