SWORD DANCER INV. | PURSE: $600,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 1 | 1 1/2-Miles TURF
Point of Entry stamped himself as one of America's best turf contenders with a four-length triumph in the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 18. It was his fourth consecutive victory and second grade I win in a row.
Coming off a score in the July 14 Man o' War Stakes the Phipps stable homebred 4-year-old son of Dynaformer -- Matlacha Pass, by Seeking the Gold, got the perfect rail trip covered up behind a pace set by Turbo Compressor. Hitting the far turn, he wheeled out to the center of the lane to find running room and easily cleared the field, sailing beneath the wire under a hand ride from jockey John Velazquez. Al Khali was second and Brilliant Speed was third.
"When he found the seam at the quarter pole, it was over," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "I was very pleased with the trip. I told him if the pace is fast, you'll know where you'll be, and if it's slow, he'll take you where he wants to go."
"I was keeping him behind horses," Velazquez said. "I wanted him to be covered up. He was really strong the whole way. By the half-mile pole I pointed him outside, and the horse who was laying third took a bad step, so I had to go back inside with him. But, I didn't want to make a move before the quarter-pole anyway, so it worked out. He was ready to go any time I let him go. Incredible."
Final time for the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer was 2:26.40. Point of Entry returned $4.80, $2.90, and $2.30 as the 7-5 choice. Al Khali paid $5.70 and $3.90 while Brilliant Speed brought $3.70. Turbo Compressor, winner of the United Nations last time out, finished last of nine after leading the way early on.