Looking for his third straight win, Point of Entry remained within striking range in second as he raced outside early leader Center Divider, who coasted through fractions of 52.05 and 1:16.68 over the Widener turf. Point of Entry drew along on even terms nearing the quarter pole and dismissed the pacesetter when put to a drive in upper stretch, powering clear to a 3 ½-length victory.
“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,” winning jockey Jose Lezcano told NYRA Press. “He wasn’t pulling or anything. He did everything right. I think any distance would be good for him.”
Point of Entry completed 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.87.
The Man o’ War was Point of Entry’s first start since his 1 ½-length victory in the Grade 2 Elkhorn on April 27 at Keeneland, his graded stakes bow. Fifteen days prior to his Elkhorn triumph, the 4-year-old won a Keeneland allowance by 1 ¼ lengths.
“I think he’s learning. I told [Lezcano], ‘Just be careful he’s not too sharp off when you come off the layoff,’” said Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who trains the homebred for Phipps Stable. “I could tell in the paddock he was ready.”
McGaughey added that he has penciled in the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on Aug. 18 at Saratoga Race Course for Point of Entry’s next start. A son of Dynaformer, Point of Entry is 5-2-1 in 12 starts and 4-1-1 in seven races on turf. The Man o’ War victory, worth $360,000, lifted his earnings to $574,490.
–NYRA Press contributed to this report.
Point of Entry/NYRA photo