09/23/2012 1:39PM

Belmont: Hymn Book sharpens for Jockey Club Gold Cup

Tom Keyser
Hymn Book is among eight or nine horses probable for Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Club.

ELMONT, N.Y. - While some horsemen postponed scheduled workouts Sunday for their horses pointing to next Saturday’s stakes smorgasbord at Belmont Park, trainer Shug McGaughey went ahead as scheduled with drills for Hymn Book and Point of Entry.

Hymn Book, scheduled to run in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, breezed four furlongs in 46.87 seconds in company with the maiden Gloat. With exercise rider Jennifer Patterson barely asking Hymn Book to run, the Donn Handicap winner zipped his first quarter in 23.00 seconds, his second quarter in 23.87, and galloped out five furlongs in 59.99.

The move was done following the 8:30 a.m. renovation break over a drying out track labeled good. Heavy rains hit the New York area Saturday night

“I figure the track was probably a second fast,” McGaughey said. “I thought he breezed good.”

Hymn Book, who is 2-2-0 from 4 starts at Belmont and 4 for 5 over wet surfaces, is coming off a fourth-place finish behind Fort Larned in the Whitney at Saratoga on Aug. 4.

 “I wanted to give him a little break between his races. He likes it here. Obviously he loves it when there’s a little bit of water in the track, which he got this morning,” McGaughey said. “I think this [cooler] weather is suiting him too. I know it’s a big task, but we’ll see what he can do.”

Fort Larned breezed five furlongs in 1:00.79 over the Belmont main track, getting his last three furlongs in 34.82 seconds.

 “I wanted him to go off in about 26 for the first quarter and I wanted him to stretch his legs and finish up strong,” said trainer Ian Wilkes. “I was very pleased.”

 A field of eight or nine is expected for the Jockey Club including Atigun, Fast Falcon, Flat Out, Hymn Book, Fort Larned, Ron the Greek, San Pablo, and Stay Thirsty. Ruler On Ice, last year’s Belmont Stakes winner, is possible.

 San Pablo and Stay Thirsty, both trained by Todd Pletcher, had their planned works pushed back to Monday due to track condition.

 Point of Entry finishes fast

 About 45 minutes after Hymn Book breezed, McGaughey sent out dual Grade 1 winner Point of Entry for a half-mile breeze that went in 50.22 seconds over a good inner turf course. He is preparing for Saturday’s Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.

 Thunderous Lady, a horse trained by Michael Trombetta, broke off about a dozen lengths in front of Point of Entry, but it wasn’t a designed in-company work. Patterson let Point of Entry go a half-mile in 27.48 seconds but the horse wanted to run in the stretch and seemed eager to have something to run at through the lane.

 “I like that he had a little bit of a target,” McGaughey said. “I thought it was an excellent work … He had that horse in his sights. I told [Patterson] I wanted something fairly sharp with him, but I didn’t want to over-do it. She let him go off the right way and finish up the right way.”

Point of Entry has won four in a row including the Man o’ War and Sword Dance - both Grade 1’s - to put him among the leaders in the male turf division.

In the Joe Hirsch, Point of Entry is expected to face Finnegans Wake, Game Ball, Hailstone, Little Mike, and Treasure Beach.

 Hit it Rich to Flower Bowl

 McGaughey will also be represented Saturday by Glens Falls Handicap winner Hit It Rich in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational. She is expected to work Monday morning over the dirt.

 “I thought Hit it Rich ran a really good race in Saratoga,” McGaughey said. “She had been freshened up a little bit to run that. I thought it was time to take a big chance with her and see what happens.”

 The Flower Bowl should draw a solid field with European shippers I’m a Dreamer, the Beverly D. winner, and Nahrain, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf runner-up, coming. I’m a Dreamer arrived in New York on Saturday and is in quarantine at Aqueduct.

 Others expected to run include graded winners Dream Pace and Zagora, Yellow Ribbon winner Halo Dolly, multiple New York-bred stakes winner Hessonite, and Bizzy Caroline, runner-up to Hit It Rich in the Glens Falls.

 Dream Peace and Zagora, both trained by Chad Brown, five furlongs in 1:01.65 Sunday over the Belmont turf with a final quarter of 22.95 seconds.

Mystical Star, the New York Stakes winner, will run in either the Flower Bowl or the Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 7, trainer Christophe Clement said.

 Mystical Star worked five furlongs in 1:02.21 Sunday over the Belmont inner turf.