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Point Given takes charge

Point well taken.

Trainer Bob Baffert, under heavy scrutiny for the three-month layoff he prescribed for possible Kentucky Derby favorite Point Given, watched his plan unfold perfectly Saturday at Santa Anita as his colt held off a late challenge to win the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes over 1 1/16 miles.

Point Given had not raced since his 1-length victory over Millennium Wind in the Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 16, but the favored colt went five-wide in the final turn to take the lead and held off a challenge from I Love Silver down the stretch to win by 2\ lengths in 1:41.94.

"I felt like I was riding a 5-year-old against 2-year-olds," jockey Gary Stevens said. "I can't say enough about the job Bob has done, after all the criticism he endured from the racing world. He had this planned out from the beginning, and he stuck with it and never wavered."

Jamaican Run, with Alex Solis aboard, finished third in the eight-horse field, and the race was marred by the death of Gold Trader, a Derby contender trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who broke down while running sixth in the stretch.

Point Given likely will advance to the April 7 Santa Anita Derby, and Baffert now seems to have another Derby contender on his hands. Congaree breezed to an 8-length victory in an allowance race earlier on the card _ and likely earned a trip to the April 14 Wood Memorial in New York.

ROYAL PALM HANDICAP: Del Mar Show beat Gateman by 3{ lengths as Hialeah opened its 61-day meeting. Del Mar Show, ridden by Jerry Bailey, covered a 1 1/16 miles on the turf course in 1:39 4/5.

RAZORBACK HANDICAP: Mr Ross passed favored Graeme Hall in the stretch to win by 2} lengths at Hot Springs, Ark. Mr Ross finished in 1:42.6 on a fast track.

Zippy Chippy wins!

FREEHOLD, N.J. _ Finally, his owner found a race Zippy Chippy could win.

The losingest thoroughbred in North American history beat a standardbred horse renamed Paddy's Lady at Freehold Raceway.

Zippy Chippy _ acquired by Felix Monserrate in 1995 in exchange for an old van _ allowed the standardbred a 20-length head start. Of course, Paddy's Lady _ renamed just for the race _ also had to pull a bike with a driver.

Zippy Chippy and jockey Eugene Olmo rallied to win the half-mile race _ but only by a neck.

Because the win was an exhibition, Zippy Chippy officially maintains his 0-for-89 record.

"It feels good to win," Monserrate said. "But it doesn't count until we do it against the thoroughbreds. Maybe winning this will give him a little heart."

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