Point of Entry stamped himself as one of America's best turf competitors with a four-length triumph in the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 18 (VIDEO). It was his fourth consecutive victory and second grade I win in a row.
Coming off a score in the July 14 Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT), the Phipps Stable's homebred 4-year-old son of Dynaformer–Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold, got the perfect rail trip covered up behind a pace set by second choice Turbo Compressor.
The United Nations (gr. IT) winner led a quarter in :24.69 and the half in :49.45 while followed by Center Divider and Newsdad. He held on to his one-length advantage for the mile in 1:37.90 and still was in front by half a length after 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.13, but wilted when tested and faded badly to finish last.
Point of Entry was tucked inside, holding a fourth-place position and tracking the frontrunners. Jockey John Velazquez sought to send him out around the half-mile pole, but was forced to go back to the inside due to traffic trouble. He idled behind rivals around the turn, then found a seam and wheeled out to the center of the lane.
"When he found the seam at the quarter pole, it was over," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "I was very pleased with the trip. I told Johnny if the pace is fast, you'll know where you'll be, and if it's slow, he'll take you where he wants to go."
"I was keeping him behind horses," Velazquez said. "I wanted him to be covered up. He was really strong the whole way. By the half-mile pole I pointed him outside, and the horse who was laying third took a bad step, so I had to go back inside with him. But, I didn't want to make a move before the quarter pole anyway, so it worked out. He was ready to go any time I let him go. Incredible."
Final time for the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer was 2:26.40 over firm going. Point of Entry returned $4.80, $2.90, and $2.30 as the 7-5 favorite. Al Khali paid $5.70 and $3.90 while Brilliant Speed returned $3.70. Newsdad, Tahoe Lake, Hailstone, Center Divider, Game Ball, and Turbo Compressor completed the order of finish.
The victory improved Point of Entry's record to 6-2-1 from 13 starts. He has earned of $934,490.
Phipps Stable won the Sword Dancer one other time, when Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps' father, the late Odgen Phipps, scored with Effervescing in 1977.
"This is a great day for me, and I'm enjoying every minute of it," Phipps said afterwards.