08/16/2012 2:37PM

Saratoga: Point of Entry has an edge for the Sword Dancer


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Christophe Clement called Point of Entry’s 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Man o’ War one of the two best turf performances he has seen all year along with Wise Dan’s effort here last weekend in the Fourstardave. What’s scary for the other members of the division is that Point of Entry’s trainer, Shug McGaughey, says he doesn’t think we have seen the best of this horse yet.

Point of Entry will shoot for his second straight Grade 1 win when he takes on top contender Turbo Compressor and seven other long-winded rivals in Saturday’s $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga. The Sword Dancer will be decided at 1 1/2 miles on the turf.

Point of Entry has improved dramatically since stretching out to 1 3/8 miles to win a first-level allowance race in his 3-year-old finale last December at Gulfstream Park. A Phipps Stable homebred son of Dynaformer, Point of Entry has won his last three starts, including Keeneland’s Grade 2 Elkorn at 12 furlongs as a prelude to his big effort in the Man o’ War.

“He’s doing awfully well and I’m looking forward to running him on Saturday,” McGaughey said. “Maturity is the major reason for his improvement although the extra distance really helps. We always knew his future was in front of him. Just the way he’s bred, the way he looks, we could kind of see it coming, the progression. A little of the method to the madness was to give him a little time after Keeneland so hopefully it would get better for the Man o’ War and we think it can get even better for the Sword Dancer.”

Turbo Compressor is also on top of his game at the present time having won three of his last four starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, including the Grade 1 United Nations going a mile and three-eighths at Monmouth Park on July 7. Turbo Compressor has one style of running no matter what distance he tries, and that’s playing catch me if you can.

“The horse is doing well and we’ll just try to continue what we’ve been doing and that’s let him run his race and see what happens,” Pletcher said. “You would think someone would have to alter their running style to go with him on Saturday so we anticipate we’ll be on the lead.”

Pletcher said the weight – Turbo Compressor and Point of Entry will each carry 123 pounds in the Sword Dancer – worries him more than the added distance.

“The weight concerns me more than anything, but when you win two $500,000 races in a row, you’re going to anticipate you’ll pick up some weight,” Pletcher said.

Turbo Compressor’s regular rider, Joe Bravo, paid his horse the ultimate compliment by giving him the call over Little Mike, who runs Saturday in the Arlington Million.

The Sword Dancer brings together the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers from the Man o’ War – Center Divider, Tahoe Lake, and Newsdad – as well as the third- and sixth-place runners from the United Nations, Al Khali and Brilliant Speed. Game Ball and Hailstone complete the field.