Point of Entry Works for Breeders' Cup Turf
By Claire Novak & Jack Shinar
Five-time grade I winner Point of Entry delivered a solid move in company with stablemate Overwhelming over the Belmont Park inner turf course on the morning of Oct. 13, going five furlongs in 1:01.24 under John Velazquez.
The Hall of Fame rider, poised to become the leading jockey by earnings in North American racing history, had a busy Sunday morning at Belmont, working Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Palace Malice as well.
Velazquez has been aboard Phipps Stable homebred Point of Entry for all but two of his nine wins, including five of his six graded stakes scores.
Trainer Shug McGaughey said Point of Entry remains on track for a comeback in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park. The 5-year-old homebred son of Dynaformer is making a rapid recovery from a condylar fracture of his left hind cannon bone sustained while winning the June 8 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont.
The Hall of Fame conditioner knows he doesn't have a lot of time to prepare Point of Entry for the BC Turf, but likes the progress he has seen so far. Point of Entry's latest drill was his first on turf since he returned to the work tab Sept. 14.
"He worked very well," said McGaughey. "I think we're on the right track. He galloped out good and strong and finished up good."
Point of Entry finished second in the Breeders' Cup Turf last year to Little Mike with a troubled rail trip. He has taken nine of 17 starts for earnings of $2,314,490. In addition to the Manhattan, the bay horse counts the Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT), the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT), the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT), and the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) among his wins.
Prior to Point of Entry's work, Velazquez was also aboard Palice Malice Sunday morning for a half-mile breeze in :48.40 on the training track. Velazquez will replace Mike Smith aboard the Todd Pletcher charge for Dogwood Stable in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) with Smith opting to ride Game On Dude instead.
"I thought Palace Malice was his normal, very good self," said Pletcher. "A good work and a strong gallop out."
Palace Malice will enter the Classic off a second to Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational (gr. I) Sept. 28 at Belmont.
Also working at Belmont for the Breeders' Cup Classic was Graydar , who turned in a 1:01.32 five-furlong move with exercise rider Hector Ramos aboard for Pletcher and owner Twin Creeks Racing Stable. Graydar is targeting the Classic off a victory in Belmont's Kelso Invitational Handicap (gr. II) Sept. 28.
"Graydar also was very good," said Pletcher. "A strong five-eighths for him. Hopefully, we're making progress towards the Breeders' Cup Classic with both" Graydar and Palace Malice.
At Churchill Downs, meanwhile, defending Classic winner Fort Larned breezed five furlongs for trainer Ian Wilkes in 1:00 flat, second quickest of 22 at the distance on the morning at the Louisville track. It was the second work for the Janis Whitham homebred since the 5-year-old son of E Dubai registered a facile victory in Churchill's inaugural Homecoming Classic Sept. 28.
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