02/07/2013 3:32PM

Gulfstream Park: Animal Kingdom, Point of Entry prep in Gulfstream Park Turf


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Although both have the date March 30 prominently circled on their calendars, trainers Graham Motion and Shug McGaughey are certainly not looking past Saturday, Feb. 9, when they send out Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry to kick off their 2013 campaigns in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

Animal Kingdom is using the Gulfstream Park Turf as a prep for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 30. If all goes according to plan, Point of Entry would run earlier that same evening at Meydan in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic.

Motion was hoping to use Animal Kingdom’s victory in a high-level optional claiming race here one year ago as a prep for the 2012 World Cup. But those plans had to be scrapped after Animal Kingdom suffered an injured pelvis while training up to his trip to Dubai.

Animal Kingdom was sidelined more than six months due to the injury. He made a sensational return at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, finishing second behind eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan, despite an eventful trip.

Joel Rosario will replace Rafael Bejarano aboard Animal Kingdom on Saturday.

[GULFSTREAM: Get Donn and GP Turf PPs, watch full card live]

“He’s doing great, everything’s gone smoothly since the Breeders’ Cup,” Motion said. “He’s breezed every week, things have gone without a hitch, although it’s certainly not going to be an easy race.”

Although Motion acknowledged the Gulfstream Park Turf is a prep for Dubai, he said this is a different situation than a year ago.

“Last year, he hadn’t run since the summer and we were kind of finding out where we were at with him because he needed a race before going to Dubai,” Motion said. “Obviously, he needs a race now, too, but this is the race we’ve been pointing for since the Breeders’ Cup. Does he have to win Saturday? No. It’s no gimme for sure, but he is doing very well.”

McGaughey echoed Motion’s sentiments, saying Point of Entry has trained extremely well at Payson Park for the Gulfstream Park Turf while acknowledging he doesn’t necessarily have to win the race. Point of Entry won three straight Grade 1 races in 2012 – the Man o’ War, Sword Dancer, and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational – at distances ranging from 11 to 12 furlongs before closing out the year finishing second, just a half-length behind Little Mike, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“He’s doing fantastic,” McGaughey said. “A mile and an eighth over this track is probably not his best game, but if he were to run or be very competitive, it might open some doors in mile-and-an-eighth races down the line. It’s a good place to get him started, and if he goes over there and runs his race and runs well, we’re going to be satisfied.”

Despite the imposing presence of Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry, the Gulfstream Park Turf is anything but a two-horse race – not with Unbridled Command in the field. The New York-bred Unbridled Command brings a five-race winning streak into his 2013 debut, a skein that culminated with a 1 1/2-length triumph in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

The Gulfstream Park Turf could be Unbridled Command’s final race in the United States. A minority interest in Unbridled Command was sold last month to a partnership headed by David Bernsen with a provision to purchase a majority share from owner Lewis Lakin. Trainer Tom Bush said if Unbridled Command runs well Saturday, it could be his last start in this country. In 2011, Bernsen purchased turf stayer Sanagas and then sent him to Australia to compete in major races such as the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup.

“He’s doing terrific and is ready to go, but in Animal Kingdom and Point of Entry, he’ll be meeting horses on a different level than he’s ever met before,” Bush acknowledged.

With little or no pace in the race, Salto may try to steal the lead and steal the Gulfstream Park Turf on the front end. Salto, who’ll gets a nine-pound weight concession from Point of Entry, was on or with the lead after the opening six furlongs of each of his last three starts in 2012, including the El Prado in which he finished a tiring third behind Nikki’s Sandcastle on Dec. 22.

Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
I TOLD YOU! Point of Entry is the Class Turf Horse of 2013! $6.20 was a gift as was the $1 Tri that paid $13. I rolled thte wheelbarrow AND NOW ITS FULL! LOL!!!
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Race is to short for Point of Entry. Good prep for him. Race is Animal Kingdom's if he wants it but again a prep. Look For Salto to be able to set easy early fractions and try to hold them off late.
B More than 1 year ago
Hope Point of Entry trounces him, though the distance concerns me. Goodbye & good riddance to AK. I have no interest in being a fan of a horse that will do nothing to promote American racing.
Alex Martinez More than 1 year ago
What about the fact that he's a Kentucky Derby winner running in other countries. Do you think that won't help?
B More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AK best race might have been the Preakness. He came from dead last and ran second to Shakleford who turned out to be a true champion. That track is a biased track favoring speed. He is a much better horse than I thought he was. Today's race will be very interesting.
william More than 1 year ago
at ascot a k will have to race a right hand course
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can well afford the $3 something per card. I bet from $40 to $200 per race. I also play with a rebate. I am not looking to give up a quarter. It is nice to have a business that has pricing power over its customers such as DRF has. IMO, they are gouging their customers at $3 something per card.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
Let us recap. AK in his last three races has won the Derby and lost twice. Both narrow margins against Eclipse caliber horses.(Shackleford&Wise Dan) He will dominate this race
jay More than 1 year ago
You left out two races, He finished sixth in the Belmont stakes and won an optional claiming race at Gulfstream last year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In fact I am giving up betting on horses. Sick of the high cost of PP. They are worth a buck a card to me, not the $3 something a card they want.
Kimberly Martin More than 1 year ago
There are places you can get free pp's - if you know where to look.
scott More than 1 year ago
sorry anonymous, but if you can't afford the pp's i'm willing to bet the game won't miss your handle much. Happy Handicapping.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't worry pal, I can well afford it. I probably spent more on racing forms than anyone. I just don't like getting riped off. I feel I am getting robbed paying $3 for a card.
DRFInsidePost More than 1 year ago
To cigar1872 and Perl - the linemaker transposed the odds for Unbridled Command (should be 4-1) and Where's the Baby (should be 15-1). We are trying to get it corrected on the website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
off topic; Does anyone else think DRF charges way too much for online PP. I think it is way too steep. I should not cost more than $1.50 per card.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Couldn't agree more and never understood the high cost. If you get what you need the cost can be more than the paper. Add in the cost of printing, paper and ink, and it's far higher than the paper. It's a poor business model blinded by the high profit of downloading, but short sighted in long term profit. The cost of printing the paper and delivering is very high, the cost of making available to download almost nothing. Volume is what would make the difference but won' happen until they lower the cost. I would suggest $2 for one card and $1 for every card added. More people will shift to online, they will buy more cards, and people on the sidlines will buy when they otherwise wouldn't. The less papers they print and deliver is cost saved and profit to the bottom line. Short term onine sales will go up five fold, and long term as within only a year could go up ten times. Bottom line profit for DRF goes up. Eh, but what do I know. I'll just keep picking up my paper as I know they won't figure this out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It makes me sick to pay over $3 per card. I remember when it was 50 cents for the form, it is the same paper then as now.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
And when bending over to pay that which winds up costing more than the paper and almost 100% profit, you don't even get a kiss.