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May 01, 2015

Protonico and Honor Code headline Alysheba Stakes


Louisville, KY ( - Protonico and Honor Code have been installed as the top two choices for Friday's $400,000 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Oaks program.

Protonico is the 7-5 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from post 2 in the field of 10 older horses going 1 1/16 miles. The 4-year-old colt is trained by Todd Pletcher for owner Sumaya U.S. Stables.

Protonico is coming off a five-length win in April's Ben Ali Stakes, ridden by Javier Castellano, at Keeneland as the 4-5 top choice for the 1 1/8-mile race.

"The way he did it (was) very easy. Turning for home, when I asked he responded so well," Castellano said after the Ben Ali victory.

Protonico has career earnings of $590,507 with wins in half of his 10 starts.

The colt was eased in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 7 in his 2015 debut effort.

"Just a complete head scratcher - throw it out. He's back today," said Tristan Barry, assistant to Todd Pletcher.

Honor Code, trained by Shug McGaughey, is right behind the favorite at 8-5 and will have Castellano riding from post 7. Owned by Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm, Honor Code won the Gulfstream Park Handicap in his most recent start on March 7. The 4-year-old has earned $626,740 with four wins and two seconds in six career starts.

Here is the field for the Alysheba in post position order: Den's Legacy, Calvin Borel, 20/1; Protonico, John Velazquez, 7/5; Neck 'n Neck, Julien Leparoux, 10/1; Ride On Curlin, Robby Albarado, 8/1; Tarpy's Surprise, Corey Lanerie, 20/1; Midnight Cello, Brian Hernandez Jr., 15/1; Honor Code, Javier Castellano, 8/5; Call Me George, James Graham, 15/1; Noble Bird, Shaun Bridgmohan, 15/1 and Cougar Ridge, Florent Geroux, 50-1.

The Alysheba has an approximate 3:02 p.m. ET post time Friday.

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