Classically bred as a daughter of Curlin from a Bernardini mare, undefeated Point of Honor stamped herself as a KentuckyOaks (G1) contender with a powerful closing rush in Saturday’s $100,000 Suncoast S. at Tampa Bay Downs.
The George Weaver trainee went off as the 5-2 favorite after dominating her December 16 debut at Gulfstream Park, and took the class hike into stakes company in stride. Last through the opening quarter-mile, Point of Honor began to improve her position down the backstretch, loomed turning for home, and rolled past Lady Kate down the lane. The emphatic 2 3/4-length winner completed the mile and 40 yards on a fast track in 1:39.78, not far off the track record of 1:39.07, with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard.
Campaigned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing, Point of Honor is now two-for-two with $84,000 in earnings. She banked 10 Oaks points in the Suncoast.
Lady Kate, a well-bred daughter of Bernardini who was also coming off a debut win, earned 4 points. Stretching out to two turns for the first time, she prompted the pace, took over on the backstretch, and was easily best of the rest by 2 3/4 lengths.
The stalking Sweet Diane held third, taking home 2 points, and Winning Envelope received 1 point in fourth. Her Royal Highness, Twixt and Shout, Here Comes Jackie, and early leader Tapit’s Princess rounded out the order under the wire. Sacred Heart was withdrawn.
Point of Honor was bred by Siena Farms in Kentucky and offered as a yearling at Keeneland September, but the top bid of $825,000 did not meet her reserve price – an indication of how highly she was regarded. The chestnut is the third registered foal from the Bernardini mare Zayanna, and all three are stakes performers. Her half-sister Velvet Mood captured the 2016 My Dear S. at Woodbine, and half-brother Admiral Jimmy placed in the 2017 Tremont S. at Belmont.
Zayanna is in turn a half-sister to Grade 3 winners Mr Freeze, Dilemma, and Heavenly Ransom as well as to multiple Grade 2-placed stakes scorer Capitano. They were produced by the unraced Tabasco Cat mare Heavenly Cat, herself out of the multiple stakes-placed Forty Niner mare In Excelsis Deo. Point of Honor’s fourth dam is multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Sabin, underscoring the depth of her maternal line.