Gritty Honor Code Battles Back to Win Remsen Stakes

by | 11.30.2013 | 4:24pm
Honor Code (rail) fights back to take the Remsen over Cairo Prince

Heavily-favored Honor Code fought back nearing the wire to nip Cairo Prince by a nose to win the $400,000 G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct Nov. 30.

Honor Code, a 2-year-old son of A.P. Indy, notched his first graded stakes victory in the Remsen, and now sports a record of two wins in three career starts. The Shug McGaughey-trained colt's only loss was by a neck to Havana in the G1 Champagne last month.

Longshot Master Lightning was first out of the gate and went straight to the front to set the pace. Jockey Javier Castellano had Honor Code settled in fourth, but sensing the slow early fractions (:25.84, :52:74), soon moved the favorite into second, just off the flank of the leader.

As the field moved through the far turn, Honor Code made his move, overtaking Master Lightning to take a slight lead. Looming on the outside, however, was Cairo Prince, and the grey colt quickly drew alongside Honor Code with just over a furlong to run.

Through the stretch Cairo Prince and Honor Code battled for the lead. Cairo Prince began to edge clear with less than a furlong remaining, but Honor Code fought back along the rail, and the pair hit the wire together.

In a photo, it was Honor Code winning by a nose over Cairo Prince, with Wicked Strong just another half-length back in third.

Final time for the nine furlongs was 1:52.92 over a fast main track.

Honor Code was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm LLC, who races the colt in partnership with Lane's End Racing. Honor Code is out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare, Serena's Cat, a grand-daughter of champion Serena's Song. Honor Code is the second foal out of Serena's Cat, who is also the dam of Noble Tune, winner of the G2 American Turf Stakes.

Race Chart

Quotes courtesy NYRA

Shug McGaughey, winning trainer of Honor Code (No. 4): “We just said we were going to let him run his race. When [front-runner Master Lightning] went that slow, we went on and engaged him. He got down on the inside of that horse [Cairo Prince in the stretch] and he got by him. He showed a lot of guts. I'm proud of him. I think the horse in second is a nice horse, and it was a peculiar race. We'll give him a little time and take him to Payson [Park Thoroughbred Training Center in Florida]. He's going to run that far [Triple Crown distances], we just have to figure out how he wants to do it.”

Did he have any concerns early on when he was down on the inside? “Not really, I knew [jockey] Javier [Castellano] would have him where he wanted him. I thought he got beat leaving the eighth pole, but he showed a lot of guts coming back.”

Thoughts on the slow early fractional times: “I was shocked. Shocked.”

Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Honor Code (No. 4): “I didn't put him up there; he put me there. The way he ran the first part, he showed me more speed and was more comfortable and relaxed. I felt the pace was slow. The opportunity was there; I took it. I know he's a come-from-behind horse but the pace was slow. I didn't want to fight him. I think Cairo Prince tried to make the strong, sweeping move and tried to get the jump. My horse is a big, long-striding horse and he anticipated it a little bit. He found a second gear and he came back. He galloped out very strong. The horse showed me he would like more distance. Today, he proved a lot. He's a special horse, and you can put him wherever you want.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of runner-up Cairo Prince (No. 9): “That was a tough beat. The winner is a good horse, but that was a tough one. I thought we had it won.”

Luis Saez, rider aboard runner-up Cairo Prince (No. 9): “[When he made the lead], he tried to wait on the other horse. Last time [in the G2 Nashua], he took the lead and opened up five, then stopped a little bit. Today he was doing the same. The other horse, he beat me on the wire.”

Jimmy Jerkens, trainer of third-place finisher Wicked Strong (No. 7): “Anytime they finish strong, it's good. With the slow pace, everyone was in the same boat. He had a nice ground-saving trip.”

  • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Strange Race 1:17? Almost 1:42 Mile.
    That was awful!. It was strange seeing Honor Code run with the pace, if you want to call it that.
    Didn’t see the race live, but watched a Youtube replay. All I can say that was wild and hope to see everyone back in good health come January!
    Go Get’em Shuggy Baby!

  • zchairman

    Not sure what the ‘hype’ about Honor Code is all about. He has never won a G1, never beat a horse that has won a G1, the 2 YO filly G1 ran at AQU a couple races earlier was run in faster time, and the 3 year old filly’s at AQU ran a full 3 seconds (15 lengths faster) than Honor Code’s race—-all at the same track, all within two hours of each other with no change in track surface conditions—ALL AT THE SAME 1 1/8th mile distance .
    If this horse even gets an honorable mention for the Eclipse, the ‘fix’ is in. In the entire 30 year history of the Eclipse awards, no horse has ever won an Eclipse without winning a G1—NEVER.

    • Black Helen

      Honor Code has eaten your comments, and happily excreted them out the other end.
      What more can the horse do than WIN and show heart.


      • zchairman

        I am a fan, and a very experienced handicapper who looks at facts not goofy commentary that makes no sense. His race was indeed very gutty—but VERY SLOW. I love all horses including Honor Code and think he will prove that he is a good, but not great horse.

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan


    • Ray Paulick

      Who is your top three? That’s how the vote is conducted. I assume you will throw out all races where Lasix was not allowed.

      • zchairman

        I would not throw any horse out based on Lasix being the criteria. Reasonable people will always disagree on things like this based on both facts and biases deep in their DNA. I think any horse who won a G1 around two turns is deserving of consideration.
        Of this I am certain, if Lasix is in fact a performance enhancer, then Honor Code’s race was even less impressive considering his race was “Lasix enhanced”. Andy Beyer has a tendency to make his numbers fit ‘common sense’, not facts especially on big race days. 98% of logical people will look at all the times of comparable races on Remsen day and come to the same conclusion and that would be Honor Code should have got a
        “Lasix Enhanced” 76 Beyer—not the stuff great horses are made of.
        Be fair Ray, you can’t always have it both ways—either Lasix does or does not enhance performance, and if it does enhance performance then Honor Code ran a VERY SLOW race. We can politely disagree on many things, but there should be no disagreement on this one.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Nobel Moon was a vet scratch…Would like to hear the story on that as this guy has shown some real promise…

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