Watch: Honor A. P. 'really good' in final Santa Anita Derby work

Honor A. P. had his final major breeze Saturday's morning for next Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (G1), traveling five furlongs in 1:00.20.

Mike Smith, who has ridden the ridgling in all three of his races, was aboard for the drill.

“He looked really good,” said John Shirreffs, who trains the son of Honor Code for the C R K Stable, LLC of Lee and Susan Searing. “Mike was happy with him.”

Also working this morning for a possible start in the Santa Anita Derby was Rushie, who went five furlongs for Michael McCarthy in a snappy 59.80 under leading rider Flavien Prat.

Midcourt, also owned by C R K Stable and trained by Shirreffs, is set to work Sunday for the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one quarter, also on June 6.

Midcourt was third beaten less than a length as the 7-10 favorite in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) on March 7.

In the Gold Cup, he will once again be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard the 5-year-old gelded son of Midnight Lute in his last six races, winning four, including the restricted Comma to the Top, the Grade Native Diver (G3) and the San Pasqual (G2).  Espinoza will be seeking his third Gold Cup win, as won it 2018 with Accelerate and in 2015 with Hard Aces.

Hard Not to Love, meanwhile, drew the rail for the second straight race in Sunday’s Santa Maria Stakes (G2), which could be problematic, as she lost her left eye as a youngster when kicked by another horse.  While she has made great strides adapting, she can still become antsy when there’s no horse to her inside at the starting gate.

Favored at 3-5 in the Beholder Mile (G1) on March 14, Hard Not to Love broke from the No. 1 post position and ran second to Ce Ce, who has post two in the Santa Maria, just outside Hard Not to Love.

Asked how he felt about drawing the inside again with Hard Not Love, a nonplussed Shirreffs left ‘em laughing with this: “That required another cocktail.”

2020 Santa Anita Derby (G1)

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