Trainer Shug McGaughey says Point of Entry, his Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) winner Sept. 29, should be a prime contender for Horse of the Year if he can win the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
"I think that should be looked at," said the Hall of Fame conditioner the morning after the Hirsch. "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 has Nov. 3 circled on his calendar for Point of Entry, who will bring a three-race grade I winning streak into the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park.
He 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 3/4-length win over European invader Treasure Beach (GB).
"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. (Point of Entry) was able to overcome all of that and still win pretty impressively, I thought."
The Phipps Stable homebred owns additional grade I wins in this year's Man o' War and Sword Dancer Invitational.
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 both Hymn Book, eighth in the TVG Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I), and Hit It Rich, seventh in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT), are both off the Breeders' Cup trail.