Follow That Star: All Point Given All the Time

By Sean Clancy
From The Saratoga Special, reprinted with permission

We don't need studies. We don't need committees. We don't need advisory boards. We don't need commercials. We don't need round tables. We don't need junior committees.

We need stars. Simple as that.

Point Given is here and the world has followed.

Think of this Travers without him. E Dubai would be favorite? Come on, E Dubai? I've watched the horse train every morning. He oozes class but favorite for the Travers? Dollar Bill, A.P. Valentine, Volponi . . . all good horses but road trip attractions, they‚re not.

There is nothing else to talk about around Saratoga this weekend. And they talk like it's more than just a horse.

"I have a date with Point Given at 3:00 today."
"Is there anyway you could get us over there to meet him?"
"He has a way of staring."
"Have you seen his forelock? It just hangs over his eye like James Dean."

James Dean, I like that one. He's got the swagger. The glare. The appeal. The air. All down pat. And he better because he's the one headlight on racing's bus at the moment.

Racing has a tough hand to play. The owners and trainers will never be stars. They can be quoted or showcased but they don't literally play the game. It's the same reason Bear Bryant was a cult hero but he never made a cereal box. You can have one hell of conversation with Bobby Frankel but he's not going to fill the seats.

The jockeys are the only stars who actually talk but the average fan has trouble relating to them. First of all, they're five feet tall and weigh a sandwich over 100 pounds. All well and good, but most of us blew past that in fifth grade.

And they ride horses. The closest thing to riding a Thoroughbred that most average Americans have experienced is what? Driving the grocery cart as a teenager? Pony rides at the cousin‚s birthday party? Falling down the steps?

So that brings it all back to the horses. And Point Given. H'‚s the one for now. It's a good thing he has massive shoulders. It's a whole big world. You can feel the desperation in people as they clamor for a piece of the Big Red Train. It's like seeing a shooting star almost. They've felt this way before and we're left holding nothing but an old Blood-Horse magazine or a losing ticket or a just a short glimpse of something great.

They know Point Given will be gone before they even got to know him. That's the problem with the horses. It's also the great thing. The fragility is awing. We need John Henrys, Foregos, Kelsos who last entire childhoods or at least entire college years. But those Victory Rides, Flanders‚ and Arazis were rockers just the same.

Imagine Point Given coming back to Saratoga for the next five years. Now that would be something. You could compare him through his maturity process. See how his demeanor changes through the years. See if his muzzle goes white. See if he recognizes you or at least the place. You could collect each year's programs. Hang the photos in a row on your wall. Compare the growing process of your own children to his. But then again, a lot of times, the first view is the best. Enjoy it while you can.

Contact Sean Clancy via e-mail at or telephone at 518-581-1947.