02/09/2013 5:34PM

Gulfstream Park: Point of Entry takes Turf Handicap after Animal Kingdom makes bold early move

Barbara D. Livingston
Point of Entry pulls away from Animal Kingdom in deep stretch of the Gulfstream Turf Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom put on the show everybody had been waiting for in Saturday’s $300,000 Kitten’s Joy Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

With jockey John Velazquez riding a patient and tactically perfect race, Point of Entry hooked up with Animal Kingdom on the final turn then gradually edged clear of the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner in late stretch, ultimately posting a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Turf. Unbridled Command rallied mildly to finish third.

Both Point of Entry and Animal Kingdom were making their first starts since suffering unlucky setbacks within 80 minutes of one another on Breeders’ Cup Day. Point of Entry finished second behind Little Mike in the BC Turf after encountering some traffic issues along the way, while Animal Kingdom suffered the same fate as the runner-up to Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the BC Mile.  

As expected, Salto set the pace in the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Turf with Point of Entry stalking the leader from the outside. Animal Kingdom settled near the rear of the six-horse field during the opening half-mile of the race before making a somewhat surprising surge along the rail to join for command midway down the backstretch.

Point of Entry joined Animal Kingdom and Salto while widest of the trio on the second bend, edged to a short advantage leaving the furlong grounds, and then gradually moved clear in late stretch. Animal Kingdom dug in bravely when headed by the winner nearing mid-stretch before giving way near the end. Unbridled Command raced wide throughout and rallied belatedly while not seriously menacing the top pair.

Point of Entry, a three-time Grade 1 winner in 2012, completed the distance in 1:47.00 over the firm course and paid $6.20.

“It was quite a race,” said Shug McGaughey, who trains Point of Entry for the Phipps Stable. “We kind of had our tactics a little bit. I figured the horse of Todd’s [Salto] would go to the lead and if we broke good, could kind of been laying second to him without pressing him too much and maybe make Animal Kingdom commit early.

“It was kind of fun to watch, even though I was leaning a little bit trying to get him in front around that turn. I am very pleased with the way he came back. To win a Grade 1 going a mile and one-eighth is a real feather in his cap.”    

McGaughey had said prior to the Gulfstream Turf that the Dubai  Sheema Classic at Meydan on March 30 could be next for Point of Entry.

“We’ll see,” said McGaughey after the race. “I’ll get my folks together and get the people to talk to me and we’ll go from there.”

Graham Motion said he thought jockey Joel Rosario’s early move aboard Animal Kingdom might have proven costly in the end.

“I think Joe was worried the speed was a little slow so he moved a little early which cost us the race, although he made a split second decision and I’m not going to second guess him,” said Motion. “I think more than anything it caught him [Animal Kingdom] off guard to find himself in front so early. He was beaten by a very good horse under very awkward circumstances.”

TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
nice prep for AK!
jttf More than 1 year ago
macho man has had a history of losing his glue on shoes. even though his breeding is good for an off track. his tall build and running style do not fit well with an off track.
Richard More than 1 year ago
Well I have never really played Gulfstream before but I am surprised. Last time it was Mucho Macho Man that did not finish the race because he did not like the track. He had always finished every race he had ever been in. This last Saturday a horse did not finish in the 7th race and then the 11th race, The Donn Handicap Gr. 1, two horses did not finish. I do not understand what is going on if the track is being maintained properly. Especially with horses like Mucho Macho Man, he did not like the track, he has always finished before and the 2011 Belmont Stakes was considered sloppy but he finished. Two of those horses Saturday had to be vanned off the track. I would have gone out there with the pony and put some leather across their behinds and made them walk back to their stalls! They have to be pretty special to give them anymore special attention!
RockaFelter21 More than 1 year ago
well no DUBAI for Point Of Entry according to Welsh...I believe a very bad decision ..being on poly and top 2 fav for 10million? I personally think he would be unbeatable in race..nothing left to prove in US...beat up on very soft competition in distance turf races?make him more valuable as a stallion by winning DWC?
Chris Butler More than 1 year ago
He's probably affraid of Animal Kingdom!!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Craig More than 1 year ago
Great points Chris.Cant believe all the DRF bloggers have gone soft.Its like reading a Bloodhorse blog.I posted Saturday afternoon that AK has one Grade 1 win and is a very nice horse,nothing more.Throw in the fact most these people can't see through the Team Valor ponzi scheme is laughable.Keep on keeping it real.
Sam Shelby More than 1 year ago
I think it`s great they did`nt retire Animal Kingdom. Even though injury has taken a little out of him he is still good. And I dont recall anyone ever calling him great.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Hey Chris, quit your yapping. There are people who overrate this horse, yes, but a little respect is called for. Just compare him to recent Derby winners. None of them were still running, let alone placing in G1 races at the age of 5. That's tremendous and his team deserves some kudos for keeping him in training. Just look at recent Derby winners: Mine That Bird...stinks. Super Saver...one of the worst derby winners in HISTORY. Animal Kingdom...quality animal. I'll Have Another...was good, but retired after the Preakness. Big Brown...great horse, didn't race at 4. Street Sense...Didn't race at 4. Barbaro....RIP. Giacomo....lol. Smarty Jones...done after the Belmont. Funny Cide...the last Derby winner who actually raced beyond his 3yo year. So really, quit with all the question marks, exclamation points and general yapping. Thanks.
Chris Butler More than 1 year ago
The ONLY reason he is still racing is because anybody who knows anything about breedeing wants or wanted anything to do with him. He's NEVER won a race without condions/resrictions. MINE THAT BIRD - 106 Beyer Speed Figure SUPER SAVER - 104 Beyer Speed Figure ANIMAL KINGDOM - 103 Beyer Speed Figure Sorry Peri the figures speek for themselves. AK "just aint that good"!
Perl More than 1 year ago
He's miles better than those horses, Chris. I don't really know how popular he will be in the breeding shed. I know his sire has done quite well. Plus Animal Kingdom is a very grand looking Chestnut. Like I said, I don't think he's a great horse, but he is a very good one and shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Mine That Bird (who was probably mega-juiced for the Derby and Preakness) and Super Saver, the worst Derby winner possibly of all time.
Gary Peacock More than 1 year ago
Beyer figs to prove your point? You had more credibility while yapping.
Flipper More than 1 year ago
Rosario is still better than the rest of the jocks out there...he makes mistakes once in a while like the rest of them, but overall he is an outstanding jockey. There is a reason why he gets bet down every race he rides...That's RESPECT people. From So Cal to East coast. I wonder how Velasquez, Dominguez and Castellano do in california with out Pletcher saving them. Rosario won every title is california without Baffert and he will do it again here in the east coast without Pletcher. From now on until he retires..he will be the king here in the east coast. He is the only jockey that makes mistakes and media people, losing fans and bad bettors are all over him. He doesn't have to explain himself, he did what he thinks was the best chance for the horse to win. If you are stll mad, then bet againts him all the time. I bet you will need a bankruptcy lawyer in 3 months. So get over with it.. HE IS STILL THE BEST!!!
jttf More than 1 year ago
i cant believe what i am hearing. "animal kingdom was rushed up on the backstretch" ? the 2nd quarter (on the backstretch) by animal kingdom was around a 24.60 seconds. the rest of the race he was rushed around in less than 23 seconds per quarter. do you people think there is an advantage of using a whip ? rosario did not whip him. do you believe that motion did not tell rosario not to whip him ? didnt someone say motion did not give him any instructions ? not using the whip, means he was using this race as a paid workout.
Kendra Mcallister More than 1 year ago
bottom line he gave that horse a bad ride
Jeff Wilson More than 1 year ago
Totally agree
tom More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom's lack of tactical speed proved to be his undoing. Just like in the Breeder's Cup and just like in the Preakness. I cannot envision a Dubai World cup race playing out with such soft fractions as the Gulfstream Handicap. I say...keep the course with this big rig and ship him to the United Emirates. We will all watch him roar down that long stretch, throwing the Tapeta with each stride. He will be well equipped for whichever race they enter him in, and probably more fit also. If any good can come out his most recent performance....it will be that his odds will certainly be higher in Dubai. And I will absolutely...positively...confidently...put my "save for a rainy day" fund on his hot chestnut nose!
Perl More than 1 year ago
You should find a european book and you will get much better odds. I will bet against him in US pools. I think he is better suited for the duty free.
Chris Butler More than 1 year ago
Animal Kingdom is best suited for Allowance company. Maybe Graham "The Great" and Barry "It's All About Me" Irwin can get Gulfstream Park to write a non winners of 1 in a year for Animal Kingdom!!!
Perl More than 1 year ago
What an utterly ridiculous statement. The horse finished second in the BC Mile and a subsuquent Grade 1. Perhaps you have some kind of vendetta against his connections given the completely ignorant statements you are making.
Thomas s More than 1 year ago
The Phipps horse has a chance of being one of the best by the end of the year. Excellent race...top notch fractions for the last 2F anyway..Concern about pace should not be an issue for a top horse as, of course, the winner had no issue with it. I do not know why the media thinks so highly of Animal Kingdom. Excellent horse...not a great horse. Still could prove us wrong. It would be terrific for the industry if they ran against each other a couple more times.