TAMPA, FL – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing’s Point of Honor came flying wide through the far turn and flew off in the stretch, pulling away in the stretch run to take Saturday’s $150,000 Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Breaking from post 7 under Javier Castellano as the 5/2 favorite, Point of Honor was not the quickest into stride, which allowed Castellano to angle her down to the 2-path at the rear before making the clubhouse turn. Meanwhile, Tapit’s Princess and Lady Kate dueled up front through opening fractions of :23.40 and :47.52. Heading down the backstretch, Point of Honor began advancing slowly out wide and had perfect position heading into the far turn. Tapit’s Princess soon gave way along the inside, but Point of Honor was moving briskly three-wide along the outside. Hitting the top of the stretch under a full head of steam, the George Weaver trainee only needed a single crack of encouragement before drawing off impressively. Point of Honor crossed with a 2 3/4-length score in a final time of 1:39.78 for the 1 mile and 40-yard event over the fast main track.
“I feel very fortunate to pick her up today,” Castellano said. “She was really impressive the way she did it and I give all the credit to Mr. Weaver for giving me the opportunity to ride her.”
Though no match for the winner, Lady Kate ran strongly enough to hold second by 2 3/4 lengths over Sweet Diane, who had spent most of the race tracking the leaders from third. Much farther back, Winning Envelope took fourth by 3/4 of a length over Her Royal Highness. Even further behind, Twixt and Shout, Here Comes Jackie, and a weakened Tapit’s Princess completed the order of finish. Sacred Heart was scratched.
The Suncoast is part of the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Point of Honor earned 10 points for the win, with Lady Kate receiving 4 for second, Sweet Diane 2 for third, and Winning Envelope 1 for fourth.
Point of Honor’s win was her second in as many career starts following an impressive 6-length maiden-breaking debut on December 16 at Gulfstream Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Curlin also carries a bankroll of $84,000 after earning $60,000 for today’s score.
“She won her first race very easy, but the horses behind her that day were not much,” Weaver said. “I think this was probably an acid test for her and she passed it with flying colors. She was very responsive to Javier, and the way she drew away was very impressive.”
Point of Honor returned $7 to win, $3.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Lady Kate brought back $4.20 to place and $3 to show, while Sweet Diane paid $3 to show.