Point of Honor rallies to Black-Eyed Susan score
A fist pump from jockey Javier Castellano as Point of Honor wins the G2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. Photo Dottie Miller.
A patient trip and the long way home paid off for Point of Honor as she avenged her only career setback and prevailed in Friday’s $250,000, Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
The chestnut filly ran wide all the way around to fend off a game bid by 7-1 Ulele along the rail to win by a half-length for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing, LLC. Point of Honor was dime off gaining favorite status going off at odds of 2.90-1 and was the biggest win in jockey Javier Castellano’s five-win afternoon at Old Hilltop.
“Obviously she’s three-for-four, now,” observed trainer George Weaver after the race. “We’ve always liked her. She graduated first time out and won a stake next out.”
Point of Honor won those first two starts but was fourth, at 9-5, in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks.
“The Gulfstream Park race was a little odd to us,” Weaver said. “She had some trouble in the first turn, got steadied, ate a little bit of dirt. She just didn’t seem to be quite as handy or responsive that day. At Gulfstream that day, it was kind of like a conveyor belt. It was carrying the front runners and it was a short run to the wire. She didn’t really get into gear until the 16th pole. It was an odd race for her. We drew outside today. You lose ground being wide, but I think she likes that kind of trip.”
After a clean break by all, Castellano and Point of Honor, from the eightt-hole, attained a wide spot while a half-dozen lengths back. As Cookie Dough, with Irad Ortiz aboard, set the early quarters in 23.35 and 47.02, little happened to change the order of running on the backstretch. Point of Honor mounted a four-wide bid leaving the far turn to move to command.. Though Ulele may have had the shortest trip in the field along the rail, she couldn’t go with Point of Honor.
“I think today it went perfect. It was a small field, eight horses. I like to lose a little ground; I don’t have to be bounced around,” said Castellano. “It worked out perfect, good perfect trip outside in the clear. We went by the other horses. That what I was looking for today and having a better result.”
Point of Honor completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.88. She’s a Curlin filly out of the Bernardini mare Zayanna, and seh was bred by Siena Farms, LLC in Kentucky.
“Turning home I thought we were going to get her, but the other horse (Point of Honor) came with a strong run at the end,” said Joel Rosario, who rode Ulele. “But she ran great.”
The Black-Eyed Susan winner is awarded the trophy in the cupola in Pimlico’s infield, which formerly topped the old members’ clubhouse. After the presentation Weaver suggested that Saratoga’s Alabama may be a late season target for Point of Honor working back into races from there.