Point Of Entry: gets the better of his duel with Animal KingdomPICTURE: Equisport Photos/Joe Ganley
Animal Kingdom downed by Point Of Entry
Report: USA, Saturday
Gulfstream Park: Gulfstream Park Turf Hcap (Grade 1) 1m1f, turf, 4yo+
TOP turf performer Point Of Entry (Shug McGaughey/John Velazquez) got the better of his duel with Dubai World Cup favourite Animal Kingdom at Gulfstream Park.
In a surprising move, Animal Kingdom's jockey Joel Rosario rushed the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner up on the inner on the back stretch to contest the lead with pacemaking Salto, who was setting a tepid gallop.
The rider, who had never ridden Animal Kingdom before, was subject to intense criticism for this early manoeuvre on the odds-on favourite when Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Point Of Entry edged ahead of him in the final furlong to score by a length and a quarter for his fourth Grade 1 victory.
"It was quite a race," said winning trainer Shug McGaughey. "We had our tactics. I figured Salto would go to the lead and I was hoping we'd break good and be laying second to him without pressing too much and try to make Animal Kingdom commit a little early."
Point Of Entry, a homebred son of Dynaformer, carries the famous Phipps silks. In winning his sixth race in his last seven starts, he stopped the clock at 1m47.0s as 2-1 second favourite.
He was giving a couple of pounds to Animal Kingdom, second to Wise Dan in the Breeders' Cup Mile on his last start.
Animal Kingdom's trainer Graham Motion expressed surprise at Rosario's early move. "I think Joel was worried the speed was a little slow, so he moved a little early, which cost us the race," he said.
"It gave Point of Entry a chance to follow him. He was beaten by a very good horse under awkward circumstances.
"I think more than anything it caught him off guard for him to find himself in front so early," added the trainer, who is targeting Royal Ascot longer term.
"I think Animal Kingdom was surprised by that. Somebody who has ridden him and had more confidence in him might have been more patient with him. I think Joel was just anxious with the other riders going slowly and felt they should catch up, which confused the horse a little."
Both principals could be seen in Dubai next time, where Point Of Entry is nominated to the Sheema Classic on turf.
Also on Saturday
Graydar (Edgar Prado): makes all to win Donn Handicap at GulfstreamPICTURE: Equisport Photos/Joe Ganley
Gulfstream Park: Donn Hcap (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 4yo+
Saturday's official highlight was the $500,000 Donn Handicap, in which lightly raced Graydar (Todd Pletcher/Edgar Prado) made all on his stakes debut to take his career record to three out of four.
The grey four-year-old battled off his pace rivals before comfortably holding the late rally of Bourbon Courage by three lengths. Sent off a 5.7-1 chance, Graydar recorded a time of 1m48.25s