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Gulfstream News & Notes
Point of Entry, Abaco Breeze for Weekend Stakes
Trainer Shug McGaughey had a busy and productive morning Sunday, journeying to Payson Park Training Center in Indiantown, FL to supervise the half-mile workout of Point of Entry before returning to Gulfstream Park to monitor Abaco’s half-mile breeze.
Point of Entry, a three-time Grade 1 stakes winner last year, pleased his Hall of Fame trainer with his final serious preparation for a start in next Saturday’s $300,000 Kitten’s Joy Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1).
“He shaded 48 (seconds). He went very well,” McGaughey said.
Point of Entry is expected to make his much anticipated 2013 debut against 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Derby (G1) victor Unbridled Command in the 1 1/8-mile handicap.
“I’m looking forward to it,” McGaughey said. “This is no win-at-all-risk type of situation. It’s only the first of February. Our main objective is the Breeders’ Cup (Turf) next fall. How I get him there, we’ll see, but so far, so good.”
Point of Entry was riding a five-race winning streak, which included triumphs in the Man o’ War, Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, when he was tripped up in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita. The son of Dynaformer was hopelessly trapped in traffic before springing free too late to miss catching Little Mike by a half-length.
“It’s always disappointing, but he did run good. He just didn’t win,” McGaughey said. “It’s hard, but you can’t cry over spilled milk. We just have to regroup and have as good a year this year.”
Upon returning to Gulfstream, McGaughey watched Abaco turn in the fastest of five works clocked at the half-mile distance on turf. Abaco was timed in 47.42 seconds while working in company with Scampering (47.82).
“She went nice,’ McGaughey said.
The 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway didn’t break her maiden until her ninth lifetime start, but she has been undefeated in three subsequent starts since breaking into the win column at Saratoga last July. An impressive late-closing winner at Gulfstream on Dec. 9, Abaco is scheduled to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $150,000 Suwannee River (G3).
“I’ve been lucky to be able to use her conditions. She’s come around, and this is another step for her,” McGaughey said. “It’s her first time in a stakes, and I’m sure it will be a very competitive field.
Leading Astray, a graded-stakes winner trained by Chris Block, breezed a half mile in 48.85 seconds at Gulfstream Sunday morning in preparation for the Suwannee River. Romacaca breezed an easy half-mile over the main track in 50.05 seconds.
Bourbon Courage Gets Final Donn Tune-Up
Bourbon Lane Stables and Wayne Lynn’s 4-year-old Bourbon Courage worked a half-mile in 48 1/5 Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park with leading rider Javier Castellano aboard. Castellano will ride the 4-year-old in Saturday's $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1).
“Javier said he went good and felt great,” said trainer Kellyn Gorder. “We just have to keep him happy for the rest of the week.” Gorder was due to fly back to Kentucky Sunday afternoon for a few days before returning next weekend, noting that assistant Evan Downing would be looking after the colt in the meantime.
Asked about possible pace scenario, Gorder said, “He doesn’t need a speed duel or anything like that up front, but it would help him for there to be a legitimate pace to close in to.”
A Kentucky-bred son of Lion Heart, Bourbon Courage will be making his first start since a game third-place finish in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23, beaten a length for it all by Shackleford and a head for second by Take Charge Indy, the latter among his rivals in the Donn.