W.S. Farish’s two-time Grade 1 winner Code of Honor had to alter his schedule multiple times in 2020, but his Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey hopes Friday’s $500,000 Clark (G1) gets the colt back to the winner’s circle.
“He’s just been a victim of circumstances with the COVID situation,” McGaughey said. “I would’ve liked him to run him in the Westchester (G3), which would’ve been the start of the Belmont Meet in the spring. I would’ve spaced the races out that way. That didn’t work out so we couldn’t run until June 6 in the Westchester. He won that and I really had in my mind I wasn’t going to run him back until the Whitney. He’s run a lot better with his races spaced.”
Following Code of Honor’s half-length victory in the $100,000 Westchester, McGaughey decided to run the colt one month later in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1).
“He ran in the Derby and then didn’t run again until Fourth of July weekend and then didn’t run again until the Travers during the last part of Saratoga," McGaughey said. "The Metropolitan Mile is a prestigious race so we decided to run in that race. He was doing really good and he ran a really good race that day. I think if we may have missed that we could’ve made a better showing in the Whitney.”
Code of Honor finished fourth in the aforementioned $1 million Whitney behind the wire-to-wire winner Improbable. The 4-year-old Noble Mission (GB) colt will enter Friday’s Clark off a runner-up effort behind Complexity in the Kelso (G2).
Friday’s Clark is the marquee race of the Churchill Downs Fall Meet. Entries for the 1 1/8-mile event will be taken Sunday. The field is also expected to include graded stakes winners By My Standards, Mr Freeze and Owendale.