Photo: Vanessa Ng
Honor Code and Cairo Prince staged a memorable stretch drive in the
Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, when their protracted duel
resulted in the former coming back to register a nose decision over the
later. The thrilling finish of the 1 1/8-mile stakes for 2-year-olds was
so memorable that a strong performance by the third-place finisher may
have gone underappreciated.
Wicked Strong, who broke a little awkwardly from the starting gate,
rallied from several lengths back to finish just a half-length behind
the dueling 1-2 finishers despite racing a bit greenly through the lane.
The finish of the son of Hard Spun was particularly impressive
considering how slow the pace was in the Remsen, in which the first
half-mile was run in 52.74 seconds.
“People still don’t know how to gauge the race because it was so slow
– the pace was so slow,” trainer James Jerkens said. “It was incredibly
slow and they sprinted home. He was going faster than all of
Wicked Strong, who breezed five furlongs at Palm
Meadows in 1:00 4/5 Saturday, is set to clash again with Cairo Prince in
Saturday’s $400,000 Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
Wicked Strong had previously debuted at Belmont with a second-place
finish in a six-furlong sprint in late September before breaking his
maiden at a mile.
“He beat a nice horse. The horse that was second of John Shirreff’s
ended up going out to California to win his next race,” said Jerkens,
referring to Cool Samurai, who won next out at Santa Anita. “I think it
was a nice field my colt beat and he came back good and ran good in the
Remsen. All his races are legit.”
Wicked Strong is owned by Centennial Farms, the ownership syndicate
best known for Colonial Affair’s 1993 Belmont Stakes
“He’s a nice colt; he’s got good wind; he’s good and strong; and he’s
got a bit of a streak in him, which is good,” Jerkens said. “He’s a
tough horse to handle, but he puts it all together on the track. He
doesn’t cheat on the track. He’s all business when he gets out