09/27/2013 1:31PM

Santa Anita: John Henry rebound spot for Indy Point

Benoit & Associates
Indy Point will be tough to beat in the John Henry if he runs back to this performance in the Wickerr.

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ARCADIA, Calif. – Six weeks have passed since Indy Point finished last of 13 as the favorite in the Arlington Million on Aug. 17, a race intended to showcase why he was a star in Argentina in 2012.

Indy Point grabbed both of his front feet when racing in traffic in the Arlington Million and never reached contention.

“I’m trying to forget it,” trainer Richard Mandella said. “He banged up his front [feet]. Two days later, with poultice, he was fine. The race was over. We’re hoping he doesn’t remember that.”

Mandella needs Indy Point to have a clear mind when the 4-year-old colt starts in Sunday’s $150,000 John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita. A win or close finish in the Grade 2 John Henry over 1 1/4 miles on turf could lead to a start in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf here Nov. 2.

Mandella said Friday that he was not looking beyond the John Henry Turf Championship.

“After the last race, I don’t want to make any predictions,” he said.

Owned by Felipe Lovisi, Indy Point has won 6 of 14 starts and $569,061. In Argentina, he won four stakes, including the Argentine Derby, and was second in the prestigious Carlos Pellegrini Stakes against older horses in December.

In his U.S. debut at Del Mar on July 24, Indy Point won the Wickerr Stakes over a mile on turf, drawing off by 1 1/4 lengths under Gary Stevens.

Stevens rides Indy Point in the John Henry.

Mandella said that he has seen encouraging signs from Indy Point in recent weeks, leading him to believe that a repeat of the Wickerr Stakes performance is possible Sunday.

“He’s trained very well,” he said. “We have to hope he rebounds.”

Indy Point, who typically races in midpack, is part of a field of 14 in the John Henry Turf Championship. The race is the leading California prep for the BC Turf and has drawn a diverse group.

Vagabond Shoes and Lucayan were first and second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap over 1 3/8 miles on turf on Aug. 24. Kettle Corn was a well-beaten second to Game On Dude in the $1 million Pacific Classic on the Polytrack synthetic surface at Del Mar on Aug. 25. Holding Glory, a Group 1 winner in Brazil earlier this year, was fifth in the Pacific Classic.

Vagabond Shoes and Lucayan were separated by a half-length in the Del Mar Handicap, a margin that may have been determined when Vagabond Shoes rallied wide in the clear and Lucayan raced in traffic in the final quarter-mile. Trainer John Sadler said Friday that he feels fortunate that Vagabond Shoes won.

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“They were equal, and he got a better trip,” Sadler said. “He came out of Del Mar in good shape.”

The John Henry field also includes Tale of a Champion, who won the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, and Slim Shadey, who was sixth in the Whittingham but won the 2012 John Henry.