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Pair of Stakes Kick Off Saratoga Meet This Fri.

All-Stars Entered In James Marvin

Two of the most popular older horses on the NYRA circuit will star on opening day at Saratoga Race Course when Jackson Bend and Caixa Eletronica take on five other seasoned sprinters in Friday’s (July 20) Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin Stakes.

Point Of Entry glided effortlessly home to an easy win in last Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Man O’War Stakes at Belmont Park.

The James Marvin, the first of 35 graded stakes during the 40-day meet which runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3, shares the 10-race card with the 94th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes for two-year-old fillies.

Jackson Bend was 2-for-2 last summer at the Spa, using his victory in the James Marvin as a stepping stone to his first Grade 1 triumph in the Forego Stakes on closing weekend. The five-year-old son of Hear No Evil, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for Robert LaPenta, this year went on to garner wins in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack, and in his most recent start finished fifth behind Shackleford in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

“He’s hanging in there,” said Zito of the diminutive chestnut. “Tough little horse. It was a good race for him last year, start of a comeback. Everything’s good. Hopefully, he gets a good race, and a good break, good trip, and some good luck.”

Jackson Bend, the 7-5 morningline favorite, will have the services of Rosie Napravnik for the first time in the James Marvin.

Owned by Mike Repole and trainer by Todd Pletcher, Caixa Eletronica was also twice victorious at the Spa last year, taking starter handicaps at six furlongs and 1 1/8 miles. This year, the seven-year-old son of Arromanches is 3-0-1 from six starts, including wins in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic-which made him a millionaire-and the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park last time out.

“Usually I get nervous when my horses run; with him, I’m entertained,” said Repole. “He’s a throwback horse. He can win at any distance, any weather condition. Here’s a horse who ran in $16,000 claimers, and he’s won graded stakes from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles at age seven. He’s the kind of horse that drew me to the game to begin with.”

Having drawn the rail under Javier Castellano, Caixa Eletronica was listed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Making his second start in a graded stakes is Darley Stable’s Crossbow, who was fifth behind Caixa Eletronica in the True North on June 9. The four-year-old Bernardini colt opened 2012 with a pair of innertrack optional claiming victories at Aqueduct, earning a career-high 104 Beyer Speed Figure on Feb. 9.

At 6-1 on the morning line, Crossbow will leave from post position 4 with Ramon Dominguez aboard.

Rounding out the field for the James Marvin are Golddigger’s Boy, who was fifth to Jackson Bend in last year’s Forego and who most recently was second in the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing on June 23; Pacific Ocean, who led through the opening stages of the True North before fading to finish sixth; Scotus, third in the Opening Verse Stakes on the turf at Churchill Downs on June 9 last time out, and Zero Rate Policy, making his Spa debut.

Adding drama to the Schuylerville, the first of seven twoyear old graded stakes at the Spa, is a new $100,000 bonus awarded by NYRA. Five of the seven fillies entered in the six-furlong race are eligible for the bonus, awarded to any juvenile who broke his or her maiden at Belmont Park or Aqueduct that goes on to win a graded stakes at NYRA track in 2012.

“It’s a great attempt by NYRA to spice up the two-year-old program,” said Pletcher, who is seeking his fifth Schuyerville victory with Can’t Explain, who is 5-1 on the morning-line after her second-out maiden win on June 20. “It seems like the two-yearold maiden races filled consistently, and filled sooner. We’re looking forward to the possiblity of earning a bonus, and hopefully Can’t Explain and some of our other two-year-olds are able to go on and get lucky and earn the bonus.”

Also vying for the bonus will be the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Baby J, who was purchased by Paul Pompa following her victorious debut on June 28; Fully Living, who won on May 3 and the 4-1 third choice on the morning line; Mr Hall’s Opus, a winner on May 2 and 15-1 on the morning line, and Sweet Shirley Mae, a front-running winner on May 9 and the 7-2 second choice.

Completing the field are Brown Eyes Blue, a winner at Churchill Downs on June 30, and So Many Ways, who broke her maiden at Parx on June 9.

First post is 1 p.m. daily, with special post times of 2:30 p.m. on July 27 and Aug. 31. On Travers Day, Saturday, Aug. 25, first post is 11:35 a.m. Visit www.nyra.com for more information.

Awards for Belmont meet

Two-time reigning Eclipse champion jockey Ramon Dominguez won the Belmont Park spring/summer riding title for the fourth straight year, bringing home 70 winners during the 56-day meet that concluded Sunday, July 15.

Dominguez, the leading rider on the NYRA circuit this year, rode winners of more than $4.5 million during the meet and won seven stakes, including Grade 1 victories aboard Tapitsfly in the Longines Just a Game Stakes and Desert Blanc in the Woodford

Reserve Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes day.

Javier Castellano finished second with 60 victories, followed by Jose Lezcano (43 wins) and Rosie Napravnik (35).

It was the 17th NYRA meet title for Dominguez, who next will try to attempt to earn a second Angel Cordero Jr. jockey title at Saratoga Race Course. Dominguez, 35, took the riding title at the Spa in 2009.

Rick Dutrow, Jr. was the leading trainer at the Belmont spring/summer meet, saddling 27 winners, with Christophe Clement finishing second with 22 victories. Ken and Sarah Ramsey were the leading owners with 11 wins.

On ‘Point’ in Man o’War

Point of Entry made his Grade 1 debut a winning one, stalking a slow pace and responding emphatically when given his cue to take the $600,000 Man o’ War Stakes last Saturday, July 14, at Belmont Park.

Looking for his third straight win, Point of Entry remained within striking range in second as he raced outside early leader Center Divider, who dawdled through fractions of 52.05 and 1:16.68 over the firm Widener turf course. Point of Entry drew along on even terms nearing the quarter pole and dismissed the pacesetter when put to a drive in upper stretch, powering cleartoa31/2-lengthvictory.

“I thought the horse inside of me [Center Divider] would be going, but he wasn’t going [fast], so after the break I let my horse settle right there,” said winning jockey Jose Lezcano. “He wasn’t pulling or anything. He did everything right. I think any distance would be good for him.”

Point of Entry, the 5-2 second choice, returned $7.90 for a $2 win wager to his backers in the crowd of 5,948 and completed 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.87.

The Man o’War was Point of Entry’s first start since his 1 1/2- length victory in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Handicap on Apr. 27 at Keeneland, his graded stakes bow. Fifteen days prior to his Elkhorn triumph, the fouryear old won a Keeneland allowance by 1 1/4 lengths.

“I think he’s learning. I told [Lezcano], ‘Just be careful he’s not too sharp off when you come off the layoff,'” said Shug McGaughey, who trains the homebred for Phipps Stable. “I could tell in the paddock he was ready.”

McGaughey added that he has penciled in the Grade 1, $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational on Aug. 18 at Saratoga Race Course for Point of Entry’s next start.

Point of Entry, a son of Dynaformer, is 5-2-1 in 12 starts and 4- 1-1 in seven races on turf. The Man o’ War victory, worth $360,000, lifted his earnings to $574,490.

Center Divider, also competing in a Grade 1 for the first time, held second by one length over Tahoe Lake, who was three lengths clear of fourthplace finisher Newsdad.

“Rosie [Napravnik] rode a beautiful race [aboard Center Divider],” said Cherie DeVaux, assistant to Chad Brown, trainer of Center Divider. “Nice and easy, no one came next to her and she was able to stay up there and keep the pace slow. Jose just had more horse and we were secondbest.”

Treasure Beach, the 2010 Group 1 Irish Derby winner who flew in from Ireland and went off as the 4-5 favorite in the Man o’War, never fired and finished fifth, beaten 10 1/4 lengths.

“He was moving fine, he just didn’t do anything,” said jockey Jamie Spencer, rider aboard Treasure Beach. “[The pace] was steady, but he was a bit rank early, so I had to get him back.”

Hudson Steele and Game ball completed the order of finish. Philly Ace was scratched.

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