|Daily Racing Form|
|Friday, August 31
|Point Given rules Travers|
By Ed Schuyler Jr.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Point Given walked through part of a record Travers crowd of more than 60,000, then ran away away from eight other 3-year-olds in the $1 million stakes Saturday at Saratoga.
The victory by the homebred son of Thunder Gulch, owned by Prince Ahmed Salman of Saudi Arabia, was a major step toward Horse of the Year for the Preakness-Belmont Stakes winner.
"I think he's the best horse I've been around," trainer Bob Baffert said after Point Given's 3 1/2-length win over E Dubai. "He knows he's a great horse. He's cool."
"I think the better the competition the more's he's going to show," said Stevens, who has won three Travers, including the 1995 running on Thunder Gulch, who also won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont.
Point Given collared E Dubai with about an eighth of a mile remaining and the Travers was all but over. When he returned to the winner's circle, he was cheered and applauded by the crowd of 60,486, which broke the record of 54,116 set last year.
"It's a pleasure to watch this horse," Baffert said. "He's got a following."
In his previous start, Point Given won the $1.5 million Haskell Invitational Handicap on Aug. 5 before a record Monmouth Park crowd of more than 47,000. He had to rally in the stretch, however, for a half-length victory over lightly raced Touch Tone in what was his first start since his 12 1/4-length romp in the Belmont on June 9.
"I was very confident coming into this race," Stevens said shortly after Point Given's victory in 2:01 2-5 for the 1 1/4 miles boosted his career earnings to almost $4 million. "I knew he he would be better than he was last time."
"We knew the Haskell was a tightener, a prep for this race," Bob said.
Point Given, once again an odds-on favorite, was third behind Free of Love and E Dubai with a half-mile to go. Around the turn they went and at the quarter poll E Dubai was a half-length ahead of Point Given.
In the stretch run, Point Given got his head in front of E Dubai at the eighth pole, then drew away.
"It was the most comfortable ride I've had on him," Stevens said.
Point Given paid $3.30, $2.80 and $2.40 in earning $600,000 and boosting his earnings $3,968,500 on a career record of nine wins and three seconds in 13 starts.
E Dubai, ridden by Jerry Bailey, paid $4.10 and $3.40 after finishing 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Dollar Bill, ridden by Jorge Chavez. A P Valentine was another three-quarters of a length back.
Commpleting the order of finish were Free of Love, Scorpion, Volponi, Hadrian's Wall and Harrisand.Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories
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Point Given wins his last race, the $1 million Travers Stakes.