07/28/2013 9:55PM

Del Mar: Points Offthebench wins Bing Crosby to give Yakteen first Grade 1 score

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Benoit & Associates
Points Offthebench (inside), making his stakes debut Sunday, beats Goldencents by a head in the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. – A day after winning the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, Mike Smith completed a coast-to-coast, Grade 1 double by guiding Points Offthebench to a mild upset victory in the $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes on Sunday at Del Mar, giving trainer Tim Yakteen his first Grade 1 victory.

Points Offthebench ($8.80) was the fourth choice among six runners in his stakes debut. Smith settled him into fourth place early in the six-furlong race, they hit the front a furlong out, and they were fully extended to stave off Goldencents and win by a head in 1:09.04 on Polytrack.

Jimmy Creed was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third and was followed by Majestic City, Comma to the Top, and the longshot Coach Bob, who set the early pace before tiring.

A $200,000 bet was made to show on Comma to the Top at Santa Anita, stewards reported. Because of that, there were slightly inflated show prices ($8.40, $6.60, and $7.20) on the first three finishers in the small field.

Smith said Yakteen gave him two specific instructions that helped: “Be careful not to hit the front too soon, because he pulls himself up, and help him switch leads.”

Points Offthebench, 4, was pointed to the Bing Crosby by Yakteen following a second-level allowance win at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 27. That gave him a record of four wins in six starts, with two of the wins coming against California-breds. Yakteen, who trains the Benchmark gelding for Donnie Crevier and Charles Martin, decided to go in the Bing Crosby after a pair of strong workouts here.

“It was a pretty deep group, but he trained well, and he drew a great post,” Yakteen said, referring to Pointsoffthebench landing the outside post. “I’ve been around Grade 1 winners lots of times for other trainers. This is much sweeter. It’s a real special feeling.”

Smith, modest as usual, downplayed his continued good fortune this year, which has included major wins on Palace Malice, Game On Dude, and Royal Delta, among others.

“I’m so humbled, so blessed,” he said. “This is incredible. I feel very fortunate. I feel like I should give something away.”