Horse Racing

Shamrocket Earns First Stakes Victory In Point Of Entry

Shamrocket wins the Point of Entry at Belmont Park.

Donegal Racing’s graded stakes placed Shamrocket secured his first career stakes win in Sunday’s third running of the $100,000 Point of Entry, a 12-furlong Widener turf test for 3-years-old and up, at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Tonalist bay was making his 20th career start, having hit the board in five previous stakes events, including a third in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 31 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

A closing third last-out in a nine-furlong optional-claiming tilt over good Belmont turf on September 25, Pletcher scratched Shamrocket from a nine-furlong allowance event here on Thursday.

“When we looked at it, we felt like we’d be in a similar situation where we’d be second choice in either spot,” Pletcher said. “We felt a little more confident going a mile-and-a-half than a mile-and-an-eighth.”

With Hall of Famer Javier Castellano up, Shamrocket settled in fourth position as 7-5 mutuel favorite Tide of the Sea led the five-horse field through splits of :23.62, :48.30, and 1:13.71 over the firm turf under pressure from Beacon Hill and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.

Shamrocket edged closer to the field down the backstretch with Bluegrass Parkway following his lead as the pacesetters continued their battle into the final turn. Castellano angled Shamrocket three-wide out of the final turn as Tide of the Sea gave way, and outdueled a game-and-determined Beacon Hill to secure the half-length win in a final time of 2:26.70.

Bluegrass Parkway, Tide of the Sea, and Mo Gotcha rounded out the order of finish. Experienced and main-track-only entrant Moretti were scratched.

Pletcher said he was pleased to see Shamrocket, a $130,000 purchase at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, break through at stakes level.

“By looking at his PPs, you can tell he’s a super-consistent horse,” Pletcher said. “He just hasn’t had as many wins as second and thirds, but he always shows up and runs hard every time. He benefitted from a good trip today with an honest pace to run at and everything fell into place, so I’m happy for him.”

Pletcher said Shamrocket will now target the 11-furlong $200,000 Grade 2 Red Smith on November 20 at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Castellano had previously guided Shamrocket to a rallying allowance win traveling 10 furlongs in June as well as a game fourth in the 11-furlong Grade 1 Man o’ War in May, both at Belmont.

The veteran rider said the talented bay appreciated the stretch out in distance.

“He never gets tired. He keeps running and finished really well,” Castellano said. “He hooked up with two good horses at the top of the stretch and kept carrying himself. I didn’t think I would run out of horse.”

Bred in Florida by Rustlewood Farm, Shamrocket banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 20-4-6-7. Sent to post as the 9-5 second choice, Shamrocket paid $5.90 for a $2 win ticket.

Live racing returns Thursday at Belmont Park with a nine-race card. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.


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