McGaughey unconcerned with wide draw for Code of Honor

McGaughey unconcerned with wide draw for Code of Honor
Photo: Joe Labozzetta / NYRA

Trainer Shug McGaughey remains confident in Code of Honor's chances in Saturday's Grade 1, $3 million Pegasus World Cup despite drawing the No. 10 post.

Runner-up in the Clark Stakes (G1) and the Kelso (G2) in his last two starts, the 5-year-old William Farish homebred is the second-choice on the morning line at 9-2. 

[RELATED – Pegasus analysis: A pick to beat Knicks Go]

The Pegasus is contested at 1 1/8 miles, and with only 150 yards from the starting gate to the first turn, post positions at this distance is more of a factor at Gulfstream Park than at other tracks. (See more on that here.)

However, McGaughey did not seem very concerned  with Code of Honor's post. This is in part because of his trust in jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

"Well, I’d have rather been more on the inside, but Gaffalione, he knows this racetrack, and I’m not going to let it keep me up tonight," McGaughey said. "But hopefully, they’ll spread out a little bit and we can kind of get over and save some ground and when he says go, we’ll be in a position to say go.?"

McGaughey said his instructions will be to "leave him alone, try to save some ground, hopefully he’ll start kind of picking it up a little bit, engaging himself about the half-mile pole, and don’t move until the 5/16 pole, and see what happens. Hopefully we’ll get a little pace, and if we get a clear shot, they’re going to know he’s in there."

He said Code of Honor "is about as good as I’ve seen him, and he’s ready to go. He’s had two months since he ran, or seven weeks since he ran. I think that’s kind of what he likes. He’s won over this racetrack, he was third in the Florida Derby over it, and I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

"I’m really confident in Tyler Gaffalione and him knowing the track. And I think that horse is kind of maybe his style of horse and that he’ll do his homework and see how he wants to run. Like I said, I think they’ll know he’s in there."

McGaughey got a little better luck in the post draw for the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1), where he'll start Breaking the Rules from post No. 2  with John Velazquez aboard, and North Dakota from post No. 4 under Jose Ortiz.

"Both of them are good," McGaughey said. "Breaking the Rules will be in front of North Dakota if he breaks good. I think Johnny will get him in a good spot. The other horse comes from back, so he’ll be back there somewhere. On North Dakota, you’ve just got to kind of wait on him, and he’ll get himself together and finish. Breaking the Rules, he’ll have a good spot. Hopefully, Johnny will wait on him and we can finish good."

Breaking the Rules finished third in the Fort Lauderdale (G2) last out in December, and North Dakota won the Red Smith Handicap (G3) in November.

"I’m really looking forward to it," McGaughey said. "Breaking the Rules is doing so well, as is North Dakota, so I am looking forward to running both of them."

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