10/10/2009 12:00AM

Take the Points gets another Grade 1

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Take the Points wins his second straight Grade 1 in Saturday's Jamaica Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Take the Points was the only Grade 1 winner in the field entering Saturday's Jamaica Handicap and he left the newly anointed Grade 1 race the same way with a mild upset over heavily favored Courageous Cat at Belmont Park.

Settling down after being rank early on, Take the Points struck the front at the five-sixteenths pole and outfinished the perennial runner-up Straight Story by a head to win the It was three-quarters of a length back to Courageous Cat, the 4-5 favorite, in third. He was followed in the order of finish by Grassy, Boots Ahead, Mr. Sandman, and Chapin Beach.

It was the second consecutive Grade 1 victory for Take the Points, who on Aug. 8 won the Secretariat at Arlington Park. Take the Points was the only member of the Jamaica field that was not Breeders' Cup nominated, so he was running for the winner's share - $120,000 - of $200,000 as opposed to $300,000. (The Breeders' Cup added $100,000 to the purse of the Jamaica.) Owner Jack Wolf said it was unlikely that Take the Points would be supplemented to any of the Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita next month. The Hollywood Derby on Nov. 29 is more likely, he said.

The Jamaica unfolded with Courageous Cat making the early lead under Ramon Dominguez. Chapin Beach rushed up to take him on after breaking slowly, and a headstrong Take the Points, under Edgar Prado, raced in third.

Take the Points relaxed down the backstretch, but leaving the half-mile pole he made his move to go after Chapin Beach after six furlongs run in 1:12.96. Take the Points made the lead at the five-sixteenths pole, then outdueled Straight Story in the stretch. Take the Points, a son of Even the Score trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.51 over firm turf and returned $7.40.

"I think this horse is really finding himself now and learning how to run and learning how to finish off a race," said Pletcher, who won his first Grade 1 race in New York since English Channel took the 2007 Turf Classic.

Dominguez, who had Courageous Cat inside of Take the Points, elected not to move when the winner did, something the rider, in hindsight said was costly.

"Looking back I think it was a mistake," Dominguez said. "I really should have committed myself and gone all out from there."