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Photo courtesy of Eclipse SportsWire

By Claire Novak, @BH_CNovakBlood-Horse

Point of Entry upset the $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) at odds of 5-2 at Belmont Park July 14, drawing off to a solid  3 1/2-length victory while 4-5 favorite Treasure Beach failed to hit the board.

The Phipps Stable runner, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey and ridden by hot young jock Jose Lezcano, rated in second behind a tepid pace set by 17-1 shot Center Divider. The frontrunner went the quarter in :26.10 and the half in :52.05 under Rosie Napravnik, then handled three-quarters in a deliberate 1:16.68.

Hitting the turn after a mile in 1:40.02, Center Divider gave Point of Entry a brief fight for the lead, but Lezcano went to work in the two path and the 4-year-old son of Dynaformer   wore down the leader through 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.41. He put that one away mid-stretch before kicking clear in a final time of 2:13.87.

"I thought Jose rode him great," McGaughey said. "When Center Divider broke on the lead, Point of Entry laid right there with him. He said he just relaxed and galloped along. When someone kind of came up there he just sort of eased into the bridle and Jose kept him in the clear. I thought it worked out really well."

"I thought the horse inside of me (Center Divider) would be going, but he wasn’t going fast, so after the break I let my horse settle right there," Lezcano said. "He wasn’t pulling or anything. He did everything right. I think any distance would be good for him. He’s a very good horse."

Treasure Beach, the European invader from the barn of Aiden O'Brien, was far back in the field in the early going and never fired for jockey Jamie Spencer. He finished fifth after being swung wide on the turn.

Point of Entry paid $7.90, $4.30, and $3, while Center Divider brought $9.70 and $5.10 and Tahoe Lake returned $5.40. Newsdad, Treasure Beach, Hudson Steele, and Game Ball completed the order of finish.

It was a third straight win for Point of Entry, who last took the April 27 Elkhorn Stakes (gr. IIT) at Keeneland off an April 12 allowance score there. A Kentucky homebred out of the Seeking the Gold mare Matlacha Pass, he improved his career record to 5-2-1 from 12 starts.

For an Equibase chart, click here.




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