ELMONT, N.Y. – Donegal Racing’s graded stakes placed Shamrocket will vie for a breakthrough victory in Sunday’s third running of the $100,000 Point of Entry for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 ½ miles over the Widener turf at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the consistent Shamrocket has never finished worse than fourth in all but one of his 19 lifetime starts. The 4-year-old son of third-crop sire Tonalist was second at stakes level twice against fellow Florida-breds during the early portion of his campaign. Two starts following a close second in the Sunshine Turf on January 16 at Gulfstream Park, he was beaten a half-length in the Grey Goose Turf Classic in March at Tampa Bay Downs.
After finding the winner’s circle in a first level allowance event in June at Belmont, Shamrocket finished third to multiple Grade 1-winner Gufo in the Grand Couturier in July before rounding out the trifecta in the Grade 2 Bowling Green later that month at Saratoga.
Donegal Racing’s Jerry Crawford said Shamrocket, who scratched out of a Thursday allowance in favor of the Point of Entry, would prefer to race going 1 ¼ miles which was the distance of his most recent victory.
“All things equal we’d like to run him a mile and a quarter. [Thursday’s] race is a mile and an eighth, and Sunday’s is a mile and a half and so he’s just outside his sweet spot in both races,” said Crawford. “He likes the distance and should stack up favorably going long. We’d like to see him get into contention as they turn for home.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano will pilot Shamrocket from post 2.
Trainer Jonathan Thomas will send out Experienced for his first start against elders. Despite what his name might suggest, the son of Temple City is the least seasoned horse in the field and will be making his fourth lifetime start following a fifth-place finish as the favorite in the Grade 3 Virginia Derby on August 31 at Colonial Downs.
However, Experienced is just that going the Point of Entry distance. In only his second lifetime start, he finished a close second beaten three-quarters of a length in the Bald Eagle Derby on July 24 at Pimlico.
“We thought he ran well that day and he seemed to relish the distance,” Thomas said. “He has a nice ability to switch off early and come with a sustained run. We’re more confident with the distance than the company. It’s a lighter field, but it’ll be a different class of horses that are more seasoned and tough. We gave him a little break after the Virginia Derby and he’s done well since then.”
Experienced, an Augustin Stable homebred, is out of the Grade 1-winner No Matter What and a half-brother to multiple Group 1-winner Rainbow View and graded stakes winners Just As Well, Utley, Winter View and Wissahickon.
Breaking from post 6, Experienced will be ridden by Dylan Davis.
Trainer Mike Maker will send out a pair of stakes winners in Three Diamonds Farm’s Tide of the Sea [post 1, Luis Saez] and Michael Ryan’s Bluegrass Parkway [post 3, Jose Ortiz].
Tide of the Sea, a son of English Channel, arrives off a victory in the Japan Turf Cup on October 2 at Laurel Park. He made his seasonal bow a winning one in capturing the Grade 3 W.L. McKnight in January at Gulfstream Park. Both races were contested at 12 furlongs.
Bluegrass Parkway, a 5-year-old Quality Road gelding, captured the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup on August 8 at Ellis Park two starts back ahead of a distant seventh in the Grade 1 Canadian International on September 18 at Woodbine.
Completing the field are three-time winner Beacon Hill [post 5, John Velazquez] and Mo Gotcha [post 7, Jalon Samuel], who was third in the Grand Prix American Jockey Club two starts back.
Moretti was entered for the main track only.
The Point of Entry is slated as Race 9 on Belmont’s 10-race program for Sunday. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
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Ryan Martin/NYRA Press Office
Photo: Shamrocket broke his maiden on December 9, 2020 with Irad Ortiz, Jr., up. (Ryan Thompson/Coglianese/Twitter)