08/08/2009 12:00AM

Take the Points finds his best game

Four-Footed Fotos
Take the Points (left), under Kent Desormeaux, outduels Black Bear Island and John Murtagh to win the Grade 1 Secretariat.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Take the Points first showed talent on dirt, and he ran creditably over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita earlier this year, but Take the Points has taken best to turf. After a third in the Virginia Derby last month, Take the Points outfought Irish shipper Black Bear Island in a sustained stretch duel to win the at steamy Arlington Park on Saturday.

Take the Points won for the third time in his career and for the first time on grass, stalking the pace of Hoosier Kingdom before the Secretariat turned into a match race between the top two. Black Bear Island, under heavy pressure from jockey John Murtagh, came out and bumped Take the Points at about the eighth pole, but Take the Points remained steadfast.

"That actually helped him," said jockey Kent Desormeaux, who won the Secretariat for the second time. "He knew he was in a fight."

The top two were much the best, with show horse Laureate Conductor more than three lengths back in third, just better than Oil Man. Winning time for Take the Points, who paid $7.40, was 2:05.41 for 1 1/4 miles on yielding turf. The time was the second-slowest in the 22 runnings of the race at 1 1/4 miles.

Take the Points, trained for the Starlight Partners by Todd Pletcher, made his way into the Triple Crown and finished 13th in the Preakness before being switched to grass. Pletcher has been tinkering with blinkers all along, but Take the Points's connections have long felt that longer distances would be better for this gray son of Even the Score.

"We thought all along that the farther this horse goes the better," said Pletcher's assistant Michael McCarthy, who saddled Take the Points.

Take the Points got excellent early position after breaking from post 7. "In two jumps he had a perfect rhythm," Desormeaux said.

McCarthy told Desormeaux not to expect instant acceleration from Take the Points, so Desormeaux started creeping up all the way around the far turn. When Black Bear Island cut, Desormeaux was ready, and Take the Points was able to wear down Black Bear Island, who stayed on gamely.

"Two [furlongs] out I thought I had it," Murtagh said.

Black Bear Island, purchased before this race, is headed to the barn of Julio Canani on the West Coast. Plans for Take the Points have yet to be determined, McCarthy said.

Top Flight: She Be Wild romps

Wayne Catalano has no mighty Frank Calabrese behind him this summer at Arlington - but he does have the leading 2-year-old filly on the grounds. She Be Wild won for the second time by open lengths, but where she crushed $40,000 maiden claimers in her career debut, this time she thrashed a decent-looking field of fillies in the $55,400 Top Flight, winning by 5 1/4 lengths over co-favored Upperline.

She Be Wild, a daughter of Offlee Wild owned by Nancy Mazzoni, pressed the pace and led going 4 1/2 furlongs in her lone prior start, but Saturday, jockey Junior Alvarado held her off a wicked early pace, with Shake N Quake going a half-mile in 44.64 seconds. As the leader stopped, She Be Wild quickened, and well before the eighth pole she had opened an insurmountable lead. Upperline rallied decently, and was followed home by Sister Resistor, but the winner was much the best.

She Be Wild paid $17.60, and was timed in 1:22.70 for seven furlongs on Polytrack.

* Romacaca ran her Arlington 2009 record to 3 for 3, trouncing eight rivals in the $55,800 Hatoof Stakes. Trained by Danny Miller for Frank Calabrese, Romacaca ($4.80) led from start to finish under E.T. Baird.

* Conchacer won the $53,400 Forward Pass for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs on Polytrack by one length over His Greatness.