11/28/2014 6:01PM

Classic Point wins head bob in Go for Wand

Chelsea Durand/New York Racing Association
Classic Point (No. 10) beats the favored Princess Violet by a nose in the Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap on Friday.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Classic Point, who went from low-level claimer to hard-luck stakes loser, finally captured her first graded stakes Friday, winning a nose bob over the hard-charging Princess Violet in the Grade 3, $300,000 Go for Wand Handicap at Aqueduct.

Wresting the lead from Sweet Whiskey inside the three-sixteenths pole, Classic Point, under Angel Arroyo, had to withstand a late run from Princess Violet, the 2-1 favorite under Jose Ortiz who was last early after a slow break. Though Princess Violet poked her nose in front in deep stretch, Classic Point won the bob at the wire.

“I watched it on TV, I thought she got beat, then I watched the slow motion, and I thought we got it,” said Jimmy Jerkens, who trained Classic Point for owner/breeder Jerry Shields. “That was terrific, big win for Jerry. He’s stuck it out with us for a long time.”

Classic Point, a 5-year-old daughter of Flatter, was previously winless in seven graded stakes tries, including a neck loss to Dance to Bristol in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga in 2013.

Princess Violet, a 3-year-old filly coming off a dominant New York-bred stakes win last out, was hampered by a slow start, according to Ortiz.

“She broke a step behind them,” Ortiz said. “I couldn’t get better position. I tried to put her in a good position, but there was no chance to go inside. If she breaks better, I think she gets it.”

Jerkens took over the training of Classic Point this summer from his Hall of Fame father, Allen, who remained in south Florida this year. After winning an allowance race at Gulfstream, Classic Point had floundered in three graded stakes tries this summer and fall. She took a class drop in the Punkin Pie Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 13, a race she won by 6 1/4 lengths.

That was the first start Classic Point made with blinkers, though Jimmy Jerkens downplayed their significance.

“I think it’s usually a combination of things that makes them win,” he said. “She’s just gotten bigger and stronger since Saratoga. Her last race was great, and she got some confidence back.”

Jerkens thought Classic Point would be on the lead Friday, but when his filly broke a little awkwardly, he was content to watch her sit second, just off the flank of Sweet Whiskey. Over a track labeled “good,” Classic Point stalked Sweet Whiskey through fractions of 23.84 seconds and 47.42 for the half-mile before drawing on equal terms after six furlongs in 1:12.65.

“She’s a big, rangy mare, and it was like a gallop for her to go that slow the first part,” Jerkens said. “Angel did a good job getting her up in there but not getting into a head-and-head battle.”

Classic Point covered the mile in 1:37.78 and returned $18.40 to win.

Princess Violet finished second by 2 1/4 lengths over Moment in Dixie, who was followed by Sweet Whiskey, Playful Love, Street Girl, Willet, Tapit’s World, Zucchini Flower, Geeky Gorgeous, and Endless Chatter.

John Flynn More than 1 year ago
What a Wonderful year for James Jerkens. I'm a Huge Fan.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Here is to The Jerkens' Son and Father.
Jeff Smith More than 1 year ago
Not only is jimmy an excellent trainer, he a real down to earth good guy! who in addition, has an tremendous memory.