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Palace Malice, Point of Entry work toward BC targets

Palace Malice, shown beating Will Take Charge in the July 27 Jim Dandy, will try to settle the divisional Eclipse Award (NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)
Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who is poised to become the leading jockey by earnings in North American racing history, had a busy Sunday morning at Belmont Park aboard a pair of horses preparing for starts in the Breeders' Cup in early November at Santa Anita Park.

Velazquez breezed Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice four furlongs in :48 2/5 on the fast training track ahead of the Breeders' Cup Classic, then took the reins aboard Point of Entry for a bullet five-furlong breeze on the firm inner turf course. Point of Entry drilled in 1:01 1/5, around the "dogs," in preparation for his comeback in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

When Velazquez rides Palace Malice in the Classic, he will replace fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who has opted to ride Game On Dude.

Palace Malice, trained by Todd Pletcher for Dogwood Stable, will enter the Classic off a second to Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational on September 28 at Belmont.

"I thought Palace Malice was his normal, very good self," Pletcher said. "A good work and a strong gallop-out."

Velazquez has been aboard Phipps Stable homebred Point of Entry for all but two of his nine wins, including five of his six graded stakes scores. Point of Entry, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf, hasn't competed since undergoing surgery for a condylar fracture detected by his connections after he picked up his fifth Grade 1 triumph in the Manhattan Handicap in June at Belmont. His Sunday breeze was his first on the turf since he returned to the worktab on September 14.

Point of Entry is looking ever more likely to make the Turf (Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey admits he doesn't have a lot of time to prepare Point of Entry for the Breeders' Cup Turf, but likes the progress he has seen from the five-year-old.

"He worked very well," McGaughey said. "I think we're on the right track. He galloped out good and strong and finished up good."

Trainer Chad Brown's BC Turf duo of Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution also exercised on the inner turf, clocking an identical :50 3/5 for a half-mile. Multiple Grade 1 star Big Blue Kitten just missed in the September 28 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational, in which Arlington Million winner Real Solution was third.

Also on the worktab for the Breeders' Cup was Graydar, who turned in a 1:01 1/5 five-furlong move on the training track. Exercise rider Hector Ramos was aboard for Pletcher and owner Twin Creeks Racing Stable. Graydar is targeting the Classic off a victory in Belmont's Kelso Invitational Handicap on September 28.

"Graydar also was very good," Pletcher said. "A strong five-eighths for him. Hopefully, we're making progress towards the Breeders' Cup Classic with both (Graydar and Palace Malice)."

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