08/14/2002 12:00AM

Point Five strategy: Blinkers off


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Trainer Frank Barroby has taken the blinkers off Point Five, hoping the 7-year-old gelding will slow down during the early stages of the Hasting Park feature Friday, an optional handicap for 3-year-olds and up going 1 3/8 miles.

Eight older horses have been entered, and it looks like a very competitive event. First post for the seven-race Friday evening card has been moved to 6:44 p.m.

Point Five dueled through quick fractions with Waddaguy and then held on well to finish a close second to Dixie of Perth in a similar race for British Columbia-breds on Aug. 5. It was impressive that Point Five was still there at the finish after going a contested first half mile in 46.62 seconds. If jockey David Wilson can slow him down just a little, he figures to be very tough.

In his last start at Emerald, Nineleventurbo never really got to run his race. He was very eager to run, almost rank, but was stuck behind horses for most of the trip and by the time he found somewhere to go, the race was over. He has decent speed and drew the rail, so it would not be surprising to see his jockey, Anthony Stephen, send him away from there in order to avoid a similar type of trip.

If a speed duel develops, it could set up nicely for either Dixie of Perth or Timely Minister. Dixie of Perth came from 13 lengths behind to catch Point Five in his last start, and Timely Minister beat both Nineleventurbo and Point Five in a similar race at nine furlongs July 19. He finished second to Tavolino in the slop as the 4-5 favorite in his most recent start. He has never gone this far but certainly looks the part.

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