The task facing Point Of Honor in Saturday’s Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga is a tough one, but trainer George Weaver admits he’s desperate to see her pass it.
Point Of Honor finished second twice in elite company last summer in both the Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks.
On Saturday she’s got to attempt to down the colours of Midnight Bisou, and while it’s an unenviable one; her trainer longs to see her do it after the near misses she suffered last season in the quest for a top-level prize at Saratoga.
“She ran big here last year, but she got beat,” Weaver said. “Hopefully, she doesn’t get beat this time.”
The one-mile-one-furlong contest for older fillies and mares is part of a strong card at Saratoga offering $2m in total prize-money.
A daughter of Hall of Famer Curlin, Point Of Honor was most recently sighted coming up a nose shy of winner She’s A Julie in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park in mid-June.
That run was a step forward on her seasonal reappearance at Oaklawn Park in April where she was well-held in the Apple Blossom.
Midnight Bisou will break from stall three in her attempt to make it back-to-back wins in the Personal Ensign, with Point Of Honor drawn wider in stall six. Weaver thinks his filly is a better model at four.
“I think she’s a better filly. I think she’s filled out and she’s a stronger filly. Her races have all been good this year, though we’re still waiting to get that first win,” he added. “It’s a tough assignment on Saturday, but she deserves a shot at it as much as anybody in there.”
Javier Castellano, on board for seven of Point of Honor’s nine races including both Saratoga starts, will be in the plate once more.
Six are scheduled to make the starting gates, with Abounding Joy, Motion Emotion, Vexatious and Bossy Bride joining Point Of Honor and Midnight Bisou.
Steve Asmussen’s champion, winner of the Grade 2 Fleur De Lis on her latest run, trades at odds-on for the win, with Point Of Honor her main rival on the early betting.
While Weaver concedes that Midnight Bisou is the one they all must worry about, he’s not going to run scared of a mare that has won eight of her last 10 starts; with her sole defeats being runner-up finishes in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and the inaugural Saudi Cup, where she chased home Maximum Security.
“Midnight Bisou is the champ. If you’re trying to pick the horses to run against, you wouldn’t pick her,” Weaver said. “But we’re here and she’s doing well and she deserves a shot at it, so we’ll see what happens.”