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.
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.”
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