December 1, 2023

Godolphin aims for third Man o’ War with Warren Point; Bishops Bay stretches out again in Peter Pan

Warren Points wins at Glorious Goodwood in 2022 (PA Media)

One week after landing the Fort Marcy (G2) with Ottoman Fleet, Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby will look to garner top honors in another Belmont Park feature for older grass runners when they send out Warren Point in the $600,000 Man o’ War (G1) on Saturday.

Warren Point does not bring the credentials of your typical Godolphin shipper from Europe, but has the potential to make an impact on the U.S. division. In eight starts the four-year-old gelding has won five and placed in the other three. His lone stakes win in England was a minor event over the Kempton Park all-weather, while his two fine efforts over the winter occurred in Bahrain and Qatar.

The Qatar effort, though, was a solid. Contested over about 1 1/2 miles, Warren Point finished a half-length off of Hong Kong champion Russian Emperor, with next-out winner Bolthole third, in the HH The Amir Trophy.

Frankie Dettori, on his worldwide farewell tour, will be from England in to ride Warren Point in the 1 3/8-mile test, which Godolphin has won twice previously with future Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winners and champions Daylami (1998) and Fantastic Light (2000).

Five of Warren Point’s seven rivals last contested the April 22 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. Verstappen registered a 16-1 upset by a head over Red Knight, with former champion Channel Maker, Howe Street, and Value Engineering further up the track.

Making his season debut is Soldier Rising, who tailed off a little at the end of last season after running competitively in the Grand Couturier S. at Belmont and the Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga.

Bishops Bay, who defeated Preakness (G1) contender First Mission in his debut at Fair Grounds in February and followed up with an allowance win around two turns, will stretch out again in the $200,000 Peter Pan (G3) over 1 1/8 miles.

Slip Mahoney, also trained by Brad Cox, was a rough-trip fifth in the Wood Memorial (G2) last out, which followed a distant second-place finish in the Gotham (G3). Meanwhile, Dettori picks up the mount on Henry Q, a blowout winner of the Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park over the late Wild On Ice, who reversed that form in the Sunland Derby (G3) in late March.

Todd Pletcher has entered two in the Peter Pan. Classic Catch was a modest fifth in the Wood Memorial after a slow start, while Go Soldier Go finished a distant fifth last out in the UAE Derby (G2) after wining two preps over the Meydan track.

The graded action on the program also includes the $175,000 Runhappy (G3), a six-furlong sprint for older horses.