Mar 14, 2014
Up the Backstretch: Honor Code not ready for prime time
By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Things did not go as predicted in Wednesday's season debut for Kentucky Derby hopeful Honor Code. The 3-year-old colt finished a distant second in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park leaving his connections with questions to answer.
Honor Code was the 1-2 favorite versus four challengers in the 1 1/16-mile event over Gulfstream's main track. The colt was entered over a start in Saturday's upcoming $600,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
However, the expected romp by Honor Code over seemingly inferior competition never took place.
Social Inclusion, ridden by Luis Contreras, set the entire pace and drew off to a 10-length victory over Honor Code who was ridden by Javier Castellano.
"I knew how the race was going to set up. (Social Inclusion) had speed and he had two 35(second works) since he ran, so I knew he would go. The track was really fast this morning, and horses ran 1:08-and-change earlier in the day," McGaughey said immediately after the race. "I'm disappointed he didn't win, but we got a race into him and I don't think (jockey Javier Castellano) killed him by any means. We'll see if he goes forward off of this. I think the horse that won is a very, very special horse."
The day after the effort, Honor Code appeared fine and showed no ill-effects from the effort.
"He seemed to come back fine," McGaughey said. "He ate up good last night and this morning and walked good. Everything looks fine. That's what you hope to see. I just think we caught a very good horse on a race track that he loved.
"We're disappointed we didn't win, but I'm not disappointed in the effort. I want to just see how he comes out of it and then I'll make up my mind exactly what we're going to do."
Honor Code had not raced since winning the Remsen Stakes last Nov. 30 at Aqueduct. Owned by Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm, Honor Code won his debut race last August at Saratoga and finished second in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 5 a head behind Havana.
But, exactly where does Honor Code go now?
This late in the Kentucky Derby prep season it's difficult for a horse with just one start, let alone a non-stakes start, to be ready to run against more seasoned competition.
Had Honor Code won Wednesday's race in powerful fashion he probably would have gone in the Florida Derby on March 29. Little chance of the colt starting in the 1 1/8-mile stakes versus Holy Bull winner Cairo Prince, a horse Honor Code beat by a nose in the Remsen.
We've already seen several Kentucky Derby contenders taken off the trail by injuries and slow progression. It seems as if Honor Code is another 3-year-old not destined for the Run for the Roses.
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