Possessing enough G1-winning clout this year to make him a serious consideration for Horse of the Year, Dynaformer’s Point of Entry faces his biggest challenge yet as he ships west for the 12-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf (I) race. European horses have won 8 out of the last 10 Turfs, and this year’s invaders present a huge threat to America’s best bet. Contenders are:
- Point of Entry* - Dynaformer colt holds down the fort as the favorite heading in with a 5-for-6 record this year, 3 of them being G1 victories. He won despite some challenges last out over yielding turf, but should be right as rain here.
Bourbon Bay - 2-for-4 this year at 1 3/4 miles and 1 1/2 miles, the Sligo Bay [IRE] gelding is a last-minute closer who serves consistent efforts each time out. He threw in a clunker to be 8th last out on this course in the John Henry (I), but that should only help boost his odds.
- Kindergarden Kid - The Dynaformer gelding won his last prep over Ioya Bigtime in the Sycamore (III) after being beaten by Point of Entry and Treasure Beach [GB] in Belmont’s Turf Classic (I). He’s good for the distance but class is a question.
- Optimizer - The English Channel colt found his calling on grass and looks to lead things along on the front end after back-to-back wins doing so and is hot off a great Kent Stakes (III) win by 4 1/4 lengths. He looks to stretch out here significantly from his most recent races at 9 furlongs.
- Treasure Beach [GB] - A rough year early on for the Galileo [IRE] colt, he is recovering back to peak form for trainer O’Brien making a good 2nd to Point of Entry last out in the Turf Classic (I).
- St. Nicholas Abbey [IRE] - Last year’s BC Turf champion, the Montjeu [IRE] son was never a factor finishing 11th in the Arc and hasn’t been good since the start of the year.
- Cogito - The Giant’s Causeway three-year-old has won twice this year in 5 tries, but they were at the lower level and he’s been bested by horses less skilled than these.
- Shareta [IRE] - The Sinnadar [IRE] filly finished out of the money just once this year, but it was in the Arc last out where she was a tiring 9th. A dual G1 winner this year overseas, it could be just a clunker or a sign she’s done for the year.
- Turbo Compressor* - The wire-to-wire winner of the United Nations (I) and Colonial Turf Cup, the Halo’s Image ridgeling gave up the lead he usually has last out to try sitting off the pace, finishing 2nd behind Slim Shadey [GB]. This was likely a change in strategy following his dead-tired 9th he had after leading the way in the Sword Dancer (I), but his form is what makes him a longshot.
- Slim Shadey [GB] - The Val Royal [FR] gelding won his American debut at Santa Anita earlier in the year and was beaten just a head by Bourbon Bay his last time at 12 furlongs. He wired his last race at Santa Anita over 10 furlongs with ease in the John Henry (II) and looks ready to roar.
- Trailblazer [JPN] - Lightly-raced this year, the Zenno Rob Roy [JPN] import warmed up to California grass well in his 1-mile prep, beaten just a half length by Obviously and was well ahead of the rest. Form-wise, he’s a worthy gamble.
- Late adds: Dullahan & Little Mike
I’ll give my top 3 picks and value pick for the Turf (I) next week.
Slim Shadey [GB] - California-based and European-bred, he won his last prep easy and looks game for another good effort.
Point of Entry - One to beat, he hasn’t been challenged.
Trailblazer [JPN] - Distance specialist was just getting warmed up in his last prep and should be poised for a big effort
Treasure Beach [GB] - Once-dominant colt looks to be returning to form
Optimizer - Super tough on the grass with a super distance turf pedigree, Lukas has this one figured out.