Race of the Week 2017

Don't hang Honor Code out to dry just yet

At age 2, being on the Honor Code bandwagon was all the rage. His last to first maiden breaking debut had the industry buzzing. When he lost by a neck to Havana in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes in just his second career start, again rallying from dead last, there was no doubt in most people’s minds who the better colt was that day. Add in a gritty nose win over Cairo Prince in the Grade 2 Remsen in his third career start, and a star was born. It truly was an injustice to the handsome son of A.P. Indy that he was not even named a finalist for Champion Two-Year Old simply because he did not ship west for the Breeders’ Cup.
Heading into the New Year, Honor Code was the golden child, the early Kentucky Derby favorite. After his dazzling display of heart in New York, people were clamoring to see him make his 2014 debut. Thanks to an untimely injury that kept that kept him off the worktab for quite some time, fans had to wait until today in Race 8 at Gulfstream Park to see the early Kentucky Derby favorite make his much anticipated season bow.
Second betting choice Social Inclusion got the jump on the small field of five and was immediately sent to the lead. With no one to pressure him in the slightest, the bay Pioneerof the Nile colt showed the way, setting a more than comfortable pace. He clicked off the first quarter in 24.32 and quickened only slightly to get the half in 47.52. Meanwhile, Honor Code tracked the pace from fourth before splitting rivals and moving up into second to give chase to the leader.
The effort was too little, too late as Social Inclusion was already loose on the lead. Pulling away at will into the far turn, Social Inclusion ended up crossing under the wire clear by 10 lengths. Honor Code finished up 15 lengths in front of third place finisher We’re All Set, and it was another 14 ¼ lengths back to fourth place finisher Specialnightaction. Ta Bueno completed the order of finish. Social Inclusion completed the 8.5 furlong allowance race in 1:40.97, shaving three-hundredths of a second off the track record set by Devil’s Cave earlier in the meet.
“I knew how the race was going to set up. (Social Inclusion) had speed and he had two 35 (second works) since he ran, so I knew he would go…I’m disappointed he (Honor Code) didn’t win, but we got a race into him and I don’t think (jockey Javier Castellano) killed him by any means. We’ll see if he goes forward off of this. I think the horse that won is a very, very special horse,” trainer Shug McGaughey said after the race.
Jockey Javier Castellano gave Honor Code a vote of confidence after the race, brushing off the loss saying, “The track had been playing pretty fast. It’s hard to catch up to the horses that go out on the lead. With a small field, sometimes it’s hard with my horse’s style, he likes to come from behind. I had to use him a little bit to be tactical and he responded. I’m very fortunate with the way he did it today. It was a good performance. Unfortunately we got beat. But I like to look at the big picture—his season is just starting and I’m pleased with the way he came back.”
Honor Code lost nothing in defeat today. Typically a come from behind type of runner, Honor Code was asked to lay closer to the pace today in the attempt to not get out-sprinted too badly. Social Inclusion got an easy lead, and we all know that when pace horses aren’t pressured early, they can do a ton of damage in the stretch by having plenty left to give. Social Inclusion is no slouch and has the pedigree to prove it. Furthermore, Honor Code ran second to a track record setting performance. Granted, track records at Gulfstream have been falling like rain this meet, but that should not take away from the fact that Social Inclusion easily set that record. Shug McGaughey knows what he’s doing, and he knew his charge needed a race under his belt after the missed training time. The Honor Code we saw today is not Honor Code at his best, and he’ll need his best later, not today, in order to make it into the starting gate in Kentucky.


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Older Comments about Don't hang Honor Code out to dry just yet...

Tom- I appreciate you getting back to me regarding Honor Code. Agree with much you're indicating on his condition.
Mike you answered your own question.I am not bashing the horse. Like i said before,i could care less if he runs in the Wood or any other race. I am making an observation. If you read my post properly,you will see that i am asking Shug for patience because of the set back. He truly ran awful the other day,if they try to rush him at this stage just to try for the Derby.I believe they will hurt the horse. I certainly hope for his connections and fans that he make a full recovery. But people are into this silly notion that 1 race ,be it a major lemon will somehow make him what he was prior to the issues. Like i have daid,top horses come out running not prepping. Shug was extermely dissapointed in the effort.Let him say whatever he wants in the media. It took this horse `02 days to get back on to the track. If he ran without anyone knowing who he was,and judged strictly by performance /merit and not by reputation. He would be dismissed as a joke. Now you are basically asking him to come back in 30 days and face the best in his division.At his best he would be more than competetive,i seriously doubt it now. It has nothing to do with bashing or jumping ship. Ruffian,the fact that he was so close up is the reason i do not think he is anywhere near his norm.The horse was washed out and refused the gate. He tugged Javier towards the lead. That is because they can't relax and something is wrong. Do you want 2 examples.Try Vyjack and Palace Malice in the Derby. They were never settled at any time prior to the race. Winning was nothing to Shug,he wanted this horse to finish up strong.He did not do that.
I'm telling you guys I think this horse is a deep closer and is best when he is far back early with a nice pace upfront and has something to run into and not on a speed biased track. Can't beige everyone is freaking out and jumping ship after being so high on him since last year. It's ONE race people. Of course he didn't look himself- he just came back and also ran against a great wining performance who was ready for that race and the track. If he can get some derby points, with all of these speed horses like going it's looking like HCs chances are gettin pretty good come the first Saturday in May. If there is any horse that can weave his way through a 20 horse field from last to first out of this bunch it's HC
Tmallios- Here's the "million dollar question" for you. How long since HC ran? Did he not have a setback? Go ahead write he off . lol
I disagree, mallios. I went back and looked at the Trakus charts and HC ran his first 1/4 in 24.98 while being carried four or five wide into the first turn. he then hung up a 22.80 2nd quarter as he tried to narrow the gap and not let the race get away. 3rd quarter was 23.43 and he cut the lead to about 3 lengths. but imo that middle half mile is where the race was lost. He ran the 4th quarter in 24.88 but castellano looked to be wrapping up on him since he had no chance to win and didn't want to abuse him. So I don't think all in all it was that bad. he was up against it from the get go in that race. i think he goes to the wood where he at least hits the board and earns enough points to be eligible for the KD. From there anything can happen.
Shug never wanted to set foot in Arkansas.That was a sell job to get GP to bite and write a race. It most likely will be the Wood or no Derby. Might be me Doc,this guy was awful on Wed. Looked like a horse that never developed from 2 to 3.
Honor Code will be on point next time around.
mallios i'd be shocked too if he runs in the florida derby. gotta be either the wood or arkansas derby. might do him some good to get out of the heat too. evidently the dude is hot blooded. honor code not shug.
TM- It's not Big Bad MMM, it's "Breeders Cup Classic winner" MMM. the last two classic GOD was on MMM's flank he left him easily. Did you forget the Dude spittng the bit...not once, but Twice...
He will improve off this race, They need to get his gate issue figured out and I dont known why he is so washed out. Let him relax early in the race and will see a better honor code next time out.
  • terri.zeitz · I was thinking that a move to Palm Meadows might be good for him as there is peace and quite there unlike Gulfstream Park. And maybe he misses some of his barn mates. I think they would have a lot more time to work on gate issues at Palm Meadows as well. · 1351 days ago
Next time out he should be much better
JasonR, what happened at the gallop out? Can't find footage of it.
BTW Look at the gallop out.
That wasn't a flop. That was an AP Indy needing a race against a speed ball, on a speed track, wigging out! He's got the look.
Honor Code looked lethargic in his comeback race. That’s not a good adjective to use on a race horse. I’m thinking they just let him run, I didn’t see the whip used much in the race. So, hopefully it was merely a workout, in which case it was a good tune up for him. But if he runs like that in his next one, he won’t even hit the board.
Hopefully keeneland LOL
interested in where HC will run next...Wood Memorial or Florida Derby?
thats the Storm Cat-Bird coming out in him LOL
this happens to most of them off a layoff in the Hot Miami weather He will be fine
The funny thing is, I don't remember him having gate issues before this particular race. Aside from being hot, it sounds as though he was just all around having a bad day.

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