- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2001

ELMONT, N.Y. Point Given delivered the best Triple Crown performance without sweeping the classics since Spectacular Bid in 1979, but several rivals are readying to meet him again in the Travers Stakes.
Point Given trainer Bob Baffert said yesterday he would consider the Travers on Aug. 25 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., as the Belmont and Preakness stakes winner's next start. However, Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, Preakness and Belmont runner-up A P Valentine and Derby runner-up Invisible Ink also are preparing for the $1 million "Mid-Summer Derby."
It may be tougher to catch Point Given, who Saturday ran the fourth-fastest Belmont in 2:26 2/5 and earned an impressive 12 1/4-length victory. The winning margin would have been far greater if jockey Gary Stevens had urged the colt in the stretch. Point Given's fifth-place Derby finish kept him from becoming thoroughbred racing's 12th Triple Crown champion, but the 45th double crown winner delivered two classic performances in his victories. Baffert believes Point Given is only starting to blossom.
"This horse is just getting it together," Baffert said. "If he stays sound, he should get better with age."
Point Given is the leading 3-year-old colt and Horse of the Year front-runner after besting Monarchos for the second time. However, Monarchos might regain the edge by winning a Travers rematch. The colt seemed indifferent before the Belmont. He fell so far behind early that his patented late kick was ineffective. Trainer John Ward believed Monarchos simply needs rest and will remain at Belmont Park for several weeks instead of returning to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
"The Triple Crown is grueling enough," Ward said. "Most years, the battle we had for second [in the Belmont] would have been a battle to win."
Both Monarchos and A P Valentine may enter the Jim Dandy Stakes on Aug. 4 at Saratoga. A P Valentine didn't falter when Point Given pulled away in the stretch. He maintained second by three-quarters of a length over a late-charging Monarchos.
"I give him credit for digging in the way he did," trainer Nick Zito said. "Most horses would have packed it in once [the leader was] clear… . Hopefully, we'll meet Point Given this summer and fall. You can bet we'll make up ground on that 12-length margin the next time we meet him."
Invisible Ink was a disappointing fifth in the Belmont after he skipped the Preakness to prepare for the final leg of the Triple Crown. He was either fourth or fifth the entire race and never once challenged for the lead.
"Invisible Ink didn't run badly in there," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We might look for a softer spot before running in the Travers."
The rest of the Belmont field will scatter. Dollar Bill (fourth) and Balto Star (eighth) will return to Churchill Downs before they resume fall campaigns. Thunder Blitz (sixth) will remain at Belmont Park, but his next start has yet to be undetermined. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas will enter Buckle Down Ben (seventh) in the Jim Dwyer Stakes on July 4 at Belmont Park, though the colt was shipped yesterday to Churchill Downs.
Dr Greenfield, who took a long time to get into the starting gate, bled during his last-place finish. The British horse will remain in New York under new trainer Bill Mott.
"[Saturday] was an absolute fiasco," said Barry Irwin, managing partner of Team Valor. "It was an embarrassment. The horse didn't get a chance to show what he can do."

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