Trainer Shug McGaughey issued an upbeat bulletin today about his
high-profile sophomores Honor Code and Top Billing. Honor Code, the
Remsen Stakes (G2) hero who missed some time with a hind ankle problem,
got back on the worktab at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday with a
three-furlong move in :35.66 over a fast main track.
"He breezed very well - I was very pleased with him," McGaughey said.
"He seemed to come out of it very well. I jogged him this morning just
to make sure and it seemed like he was none the worse for the wear, so,
hopefully, all systems are go."
A son of A.P. Indy, Honor Code defeated Cairo Prince in the Remsen at
Aqueduct on November 30, and underwent surgery to remove an undescended
testicle afterwards. He was the shortest-priced individual betting
interest in the recently concluded Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2,
closing at $12.10. McGaughey, who enjoyed a trouble-free winter last
season with Orb, has yet to finalize plans for Honor Code's return to
"I think the Gotham (at Aqueduct on March 1) in New York would be too
soon," McGaughey noted. "Two weeks after that is the Rebel (at Oaklawn
on March 15), and I think that would be one I could probably
The Hall of Fame conditioner was philosophical about
the possibility of a race for Honor Code in the next condition book at
"It would be difficult," McGaughey explained. "You've got the (Besilu
Stables) Fountain of Youth (on February 22) and then you've got the
Swale (on March 1) coming up and the Florida Derby (on March 29), so I
think it would be it be difficult for a race like that to go. It would
be nice, but I'm not going to depend on something like
McGaughey swept the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby last season
with Orb, and Top Billing will be his representative next weekend in the
$400,000 Fountain of Youth. The Curlin colt blew past his rivals in an
entry-level allowance at Gulfstream on January 25, and recorded a
half-mile move in :49.30 on February 8 at Payson Park.
"He's doing very well," McGaughey said. "He breezed last Saturday and
I thought he breezed great. He was going to the gate today, just stand
and back out. We'll two-minute lick him maybe Friday or Saturday and
breeze him on Monday."
Top Billing, who races in the colors of breeders W.S. Farish and E.J.
Hudson Jr., has won two of three career appearances to date. His sole
loss was a narrow decision to Commissioner in a nine-furlong test at
Gulfstream on January 3, and he is expected to meet that colt once more
in the Fountain of Youth.