Point Given puts on another show
By Bob Ehalt
Daily Racing Form
BALTIMORE -- Leave it to Point Given to spice up what should have been a quiet, mundane Preakness Eve.
"He really went up in the air," said exercise rider Pepe Aragon, who was aboard Point Given, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby, during his eventful trip to the track. "When he gets in the air like that, that's when I'm afraid. I didn't have too many choices except to hang on. I was glad we were in an open area because if he was near the rail it could have been a real bad situation."
Friday's incident, which occurred only a few yards away from Pimlico's stakes barn, illustrated why Baffert is expected to saddle his two starters in Saturday's $1 million Preakness, Point Given and third-place Kentucky Derby finisher Congaree, inside Pimlico's paddock instead of the traditional spot in the fish-bowl environment of Pimlico's infield.
Baffert would only say that he will wait until Saturday to make a final decision, but he told Robert McNair, the owner of Congaree, that whatever he does he will saddle both Point Given and Congaree in the same place.
"I think that Bob will decide at the last minute about where to saddle the horses," said McNair, whose horse is the third choice at 3-1 in the Daily Racing Form morning line behind 2-1 Monarchos and 5-2 Point Given. "He'll probably base it on how they're doing and what the situation looks like."
Friday's wild ride also illustrated why Baffert said afterward that Aragon "has nightmares about getting on Point Given."
As for what happened once Point Given reached the track, Aragon said both Point Given and Congaree "did excellent" during their 1 1/2-mile gallops. "They're both doing great," he added.
Aragon, for his part, hopes Baffert learns a lesson from Friday and a similar incident the morning of the Derby.
"It's up to Bob, but I'd prefer it if he keeps the horse in the barn Saturday morning. I can't say that what happened in the morning caused him (to run fifth in the Derby). But it's safer to keep him put on Saturday.
"The morning of the Derby (assistant trainer) Jim (Barnes) and I thought Bob would keep the horse inside, but then he came up to us and said, 'Hey, let's do a little something with him on the track.' I looked at Jim and said, 'oh no.' I saw the way Point Given's chest was pumping up and the way he was prancing and I knew I was in trouble. Before I got on I said to everyone, 'Watch out, here comes a show."
Come Saturday we'll find out if there will be an encore of that "show" in Baltimore.