Keeneland news: Code of Honor 'more aggressive' in Derby work

Keeneland news: Code of Honor 'more aggressive' in Derby work
Photo: Courtesy of Keeneland

William S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor on Saturday closed the major Keeneland portion of his preparation for the 2019 Kentucky Derby  by working five furlongs in 1:01 over a sloppy track Saturday morning.

Breezing at 7:30 on a brisk, overcast morning with jockey John Velazquez aboard, Code of Honor produced fractions of :25.20, :49 and 1:01 and galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:13.60 and 7 furlongs in 1:27.

It was Code of Honor’s second work here since finishing third in the March 30 Florida Derby (G1). He worked a half-mile here on April 12 in :49 over a fast track.

“It was very good -- very nice,” Velazquez said before heading to the airport to catch a plane to Washington, D.C., and then a drive to Charles Town, West Virginia, where he has three mounts this afternoon on the Charles Town Classic (G2) program. “There was a nice inside path where nobody had been galloping and he handled (the conditions) very well.”

Velazquez, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2011 with Animal Kingdom and 2017 aboard Always Dreaming, had worked Code of Honor previously at Payson Park, a Florida training center.

“He was more laid-back down there,” Velazquez said. “Once he gets on a race track (to work), he’s more aggressive.”

Trainer Shug McGaughey said Code of Honor will likely ship Wednesday to Churchill Downs, with his final pre-Derby work the following Sunday or Monday, weather depending.

“I was pleased with that this morning and I’m glad that’s over with,” said McGaughey, who won the 2013 Derby with Orb. “I wanted him to go in 1:01 and that’s what he did, and I had him going out (6 furlongs) in 1:13 and change and seven-eighths in 1:26 and change.”

David Carroll, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, on Saturday morning reported on Casse’s two classic hopefuls stabled at Keeneland. He said Gary Barber’s War of Will jogged on the all-weather training track one day after breezing five furlongs in 1:00.20 on a sealed muddy track. The colt is scheduled to ship late this coming week to Churchill Downs, where he will have his final workout for the Derby. Chocolate Kisses, owned by Debby Oxley, will go early next week to Casse’s division at Churchill, where she will have her final workout for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Stonestreet Stables’ Electric Forest, front-running winner of Friday’s Hilliard Lyons-Baird Doubledogdare (G3), is headed next to Belmont Park, said Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown.
The stakes victory gave the Brown stable three victories on the day and increased Brown’s lead over Brad Cox to 9-7 in the race for leading trainer with four days to go in the meet, which ends next Friday. Brown, who has one horse entered today and one Wednesday, is seeking his first Keeneland training title. Cox also has one horse entered today and one Wednesday.
Hernandez said Electric Forest came out of the race fine as did Three Chimneys Farm’s Guarana, a 14¾-length winner in her career debut in Friday’s seventh race.
“She is a nice filly and will probably go to Saratoga,” Hernandez said.
$150,000 BEWITCH (G3) (Entries taken Tuesday, April 23; race Friday, April 26) – Beach Flower (trainer Mac Robertson), Coachwhip (Jack Sisterson), Flower Party (IRE) (Mike Stidham), Gaining (GB) (Brad Cox), Get Explicit (Barbara Minshall), Ickymasho (GB) (Roger Attfield), Maroubra (FR) (Cherie DeVaux), Samuna (FR) (Jorge Abreu) and Sky Full of Stars (Christophe Clement). Possible: Peru (GB) (Mike Maker), Vexatious (Neil Drysdale).

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