Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Points Offthebench, ridden by Mike Smith, rallied through the stretch to capture Saturday's $250,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship over six furlongs.
Sent off as the 9-2 third pick in the seven-horse field, Points Offthebench was racing several lengths behind pacesetter Distinctiv Passion. Running third was champion sprinter Trinniberg with Santa Anita Derby winner Goldencents in fifth.
Trained by Tim Yakteen, Points Offthebench moved into second coming off the final turn and then to the lead at the top of the stretch. Making a late rally down the stretch was Goldencents the 7-5 favorite.
Points Offthebench was able to hold off Goldencents and register a half-length victory. Distinctiv Passion finished third followed by Gonna Fly Now, Roman Threat, Centralinteligence and Trinniberg. Declassify was scratched.
The time for the Sprint Championship on a fast track was 1:08.
"I don't want him to hit the lead too soon," Yakteen noted, "because he'll wait on horses. I think Rafael (Bejarano, Goldencents' jockey) is very well aware of that and he came wide with Goldencents, who was coming late, but we had inherited the lead."
The Santa Anita Sprint Championship is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier to the $1.5 million Breeders' Cup Sprint Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Trinniberg won last year's Sprint and was voted the Eclipse Award.
"Yes (we're going on to the Breeders' Cup Sprint)," the winning trainer said. "This is my first Grade I win at Santa Anita and only the second in my career (first was the Bing Crosby at Del Mar July 28). They're not too hard to count. The horse is a push-button (type). Horses like that, they make you look good.
"I would say, yeah, this is the biggest win of my career. This was a tough, tough race. This is special."
Owned by Donnie Crevier and Charles Martin, Points Offthebench posted his third straight win, including the Bing Crosby Stakes. The 4-year-old gelding adds $150,000 to his earnings which now total $514,940 with six wins in eight starts.
Points Offthebench returned $11.20, $4.60 and $3.00. Goldencents paid $3.20 and $2.40, and Distinctiv Passion paid $5.40 to show.