A tactical error by Joel Rosario during his first ride on Animal Kingdom handed victory in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap to Shug McGaughey's charge.
Point of Entry scores Florida win over Animal Kingdom ahead of Dubai World Cup
A tactical error by Joel Rosario allowed Point Of Entry to get the better of Animal Kingdom in the Kitten's Joy Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap in Florida overnight.
Rosario, who was having his first ride on the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, went for home halfway along the back stretch in the nine-furlong turf event and although in the home straight the promised matchup between the two Dubai-bound horses materialised Point Of Entry edged clear by one and a quarter lengths at the line.
Unbridled Command, who also holds an entry on Dubai World Cup night, was third.
"I think Joe was worried the speed was a little slow so he moved a little early which cost us the race, although he made a split second decision and I'm not going to second guess him," Graham Motion, Animal Kingdom's trainer, said.
"I think more than anything it caught him [Animal Kingdom] off guard to find himself in front so early.
"He was beaten by a very good horse under very awkward circumstances."
In the early stages Point Of Entry and Unbridled Command were sat behind Salto, who set a leisurely pace under Javier Castellano.
Joel Rosario had Animal Kingdom placed in fifth ahead of Where's The Baby. Halfway down the back straight Animal Kingdom was four and half lengths off Salto when Rosario decided to make what he felt was the game-changing move.
Within a matter of strides Animal Kingdom had made up the ground and skipped into the lead. The tactic played right into the hands of the winning rider John Velazquez, who waited a beat as Salto rallied to wear down Animal Kingdom.
Once in the straight Velazquez pressed the accelerator on Point Of Entry and the pair drew alongside Rosario before drawing clear.
"It was quite a race," said Shug McGaughey, Point Of Entry's trainer. "I figured the horse of Todd's [Salto] would go to the lead and if we broke good, could kind of been laying second to him without pressing him too much and maybe make Animal Kingdom commit early."
Point Of Entry, who finished second to Little Mike in the Breeders' Cup Turf in November holds an engagement in the Dubai Sheema on March 30 but McGaughey did not commit to a trip to Meydan Racecourse.
"We'll see," McGaughey added, in an interview with the Daily Racing Form. "I'll get my folks together and get the people to talk to me and we'll go from there."