HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer George Leonard always felt Point Finish could win a race like the Claiming Crown. One year and a thousand miles later, he proved to be right.
Under a patient and confident ride from meet-leading jockey Paco Lopez, Point Finish rolled past favored pacesetter Whatthecatdrugin turning for home and sprinted clear to capture the $110,000 Iron Horse.
It was the sixth win in 12 starts this year for the 4-year-old chestnut son of Point Given, who is based with Leonard at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Leonard, who vanned Point Finish the 1,000 miles to Gulfstream Park himself, had been pointing to the Iron Horse since last winter.
“I’ve been waiting for this race for a whole year,” Leonard said. “I always thought he could handle the company if we could get lucky and get this far with him, and it worked out perfect. Thanks to God, everything worked.”
A winner on dirt, turf and synthetics, Point Finish ($9.60) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.43. Francois rallied to be second, a nose ahead of Toh’s Grey Cat in third. Brother Bird, the defending champion, finished seventh after having to be reshod in the paddock which delayed the start of the race.
“I was waiting and waiting, but I knew I had a lot of horse,” said Lopez, whose victory was his second on the day in the Claiming Crown. “It was pretty easy for my horse.”
Jockey Jose Lezcano hustled Whatthecatdrugin to the lead from post 13, and he stayed in front through a quarter-mile in 23.46 seconds and a half in 47.15 with Point Finish close behind. Lopez swung around at the top of the stretch and hit the wire 1 ½ lengths in front.
“He said he had a lot of horse and felt confident with him, and when he asked he moved right on by, just like we thought he would,” Leonard said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better ride.”
Running for the first time in Florida, Point Finish came into the Iron Horse a fresh horse, having won by a neck in his last start at Indiana Downs on October 19.
“This means everything,” Leonard said. “I pointed to this for a long time. I’m very pleased. We’ll go back home now and he’ll probably get a break. He deserves a rest."
GULFSTREAM PARK is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida, and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; XpressBet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets.The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horseracing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horseracing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954.457.6451.