10/01/2012 4:58PM

Belmont Park: Point of Entry streaks into Breeders' Cup Turf

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Tom Keyser
Point of Entry handles the yielding turf and overcomes a slow pace to win his fifth straight race in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Shug McGaughey will ship Joe Hirsch Turf Classic winner Point of Entry to Southern California with confidence, knowing that his horse will get a course firmer at Santa Anita than the one he ran on Saturday at Belmont Park.

Point of Entry ran his winning streak to five straight – and three consecutive Grade 1’s – with his 1 3/4-length victory in the Joe Hirsch, run on yielding turf that his connections didn’t think he particularly liked.

Also, Point of Entry overcame dawdling early fractions to get the victory. He added the Joe Hirsch to earlier Grade 1 victories in the Sword Dancer Invitational and Man o’ War.

“I was very proud of his race, because I thought he was able to overcome not the best racing scenario and soft ground that I don’t think he was particularly fond of,” McGaughey said.

McGaughey believes that a strong showing by Point of Entry in the Breeders’ Cup Turf should not only put the horse in line for an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion male turf horse, but it should also put him in the discussion for Horse of the Year.

“I think that should be looked at,” McGaughey said. “We’ll see how he does in the Breeders’ Cup, but I think with his winning streak and how dominant he has been in some of his races that an Eclipse Award should be in his sight if he makes a decent effort out there.”

Drawing on past successes with Lure, who won the Mile at Santa Anita in 2003, and Dancing Forever, who ran third in the Turf at Santa Anita in 2008, McGaughey is considering shipping Point of Entry to Southern California in time to get a work over the turf course.

“The two times I ran on the turf out there that I ran good, both horses worked on the turf course, so I have that in my mind,” McGaughey said.

Meanwhile, trainer Dale Romans said he would see how Little Mike trains in Kentucky before deciding whether to run him in the Turf at 1 1/2 miles or cut him back in distance to the Mile.

Romans said Little Mike did not handle the soft turf when finishing fifth in the Joe Hirsch.