Photo by NYRA/Coglianese Photos/Susie Raisher
Two-time grade I winner Honor Code may have disappointed his backers when finishing third as the heavy favorite in the Kelso Handicap (gr. II) on October 3rd at Belmont Park, but the four-year-old son of A.P. Indy remains on track for a start in the $5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic and will train at Belmont for as long as possible in advance of that race.
Many have speculated that Honor Code might have been better off running in the ten-furlong Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) rather than the one-mile Kelso, but according to the Belmont Park Notes for October 4th, trainer Shug McGaughey was generally pleased with Honor Code’s performance in the Kelso.
“Do I have second thoughts [about running in the Jockey Club Gold Cup]? No, but I thought Tonalist [winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup] ran a very nice race,” said McGaughey.
“I thought he kicked home strong,” said McGaughey. “The winner ran a very good race and I thought we were compromised a little bit by the pace and maybe the condition on the track – it kind of went from sloppy to being more tight – but not taking anything away from the winner. Going forward this race should still set him up for Kentucky.”
Although the Breeders’ Cup Classic is being held at Keeneland, McGaughey plans to keep Honor Code at Belmont in the weeks leading up to the race. “I’ll ship the last possible minute except if the weather gets bad up here, but otherwise I’ll go late as I possibly can,” McGaughey said.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for email newsletters and special offers from The Turf Board!