(Code of Honor grazing before this year’s KY Derby / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the NYRA Media Team:
W.S. Farish homebred Code of Honor, a three-length winner of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers last month, enjoyed a four-furlong breeze on Big Sandy Sunday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup set for September 28 at Belmont Park.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said the Noble Mission chestnut, who was clocked in 50.55 seconds, breezed well in hand.
“He worked very well,” said McGaughey. “I caught him from the three-eighths pole to the mile and three-eighths pole in 1:01 and they [the clockers] caught him in 50 and change from the half-mile pole. He just went by himself and galloped along.”
A winner at first asking at Saratoga last August, Code of Honor has since added wins in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont ahead of his Runhappy Travers coup.
McGaughey said Code of Honor, who was elevated to second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, has thrived since his sensational effort at the Spa.
“He’s done everything right since the Travers and put his weight back on real quick,” said McGaughey.
Code of Honor will take on older horses for the first time in the 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup, a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” event offering a berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita Park.
McGaughey said the opportunity to race at home made the Jockey Club Gold Cup an attractive option.
“He likes this track and the mile and a quarter…and all I have to do is walk him down the street,” said McGaughey. “The Breeders’ Cup is still in consideration. We just have to get through this one and we’ll see where we go from there.”
McGaughey previously captured the Jockey Club Gold Cup with Vanlandingham , Easy Goer  and Miner’s Mark .
Shortleaf Stable’s Plainsman breezed four furlongs in 50.74 Sunday on the main track in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap, a one-turn mile on the Belmont main.
“He went a half in 50 and change and is going to run Saturday in the Kelso. He went fine,” said McGaughey.
The 4-year-old Flatter bay captured the Grade 3 Discovery at Aqueduct Racetrack in November when under the care of Brad Cox. The consistent colt, who sports a record of 4-4-2 from 13 starts, was transferred to McGaughey in the spring and ran a good second in August when sprinting seven furlongs at Saratoga off a nine-month layoff.
McGaughey said he is looking forward to testing Plainsman against graded stakes company.
“They sent him to me in April and we got him ready to run. I was pleased with his race at Saratoga,” said McGaughey. “He’s a very easy horse to train. He’s a beautiful mover and a very nice horse. We’re looking forward to giving him a whirl.”
Clement contingent training well ahead of upcoming NY-bred stakes
Christophe Clement sent out a quartet of his trainees to breeze this weekend, including Therapist, Gucci Factor, Munchkin Money, and Wegetsdamunnys.
Oak Bluff Stables’ Therapist, along with Castleton Lyons’ Gucci Factor, who breezed five furlongs in 1:02.59 on Friday on the Belmont main, are pointed to the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole, a nine-furlong turf test for New York-breds.
The graded-stakes placed Therapist, who will stretch out to a mile and an eighth for the first time since finishing off-the-board in the 2018 Grade 3 Saranac, went four furlongs in 48.22 Sunday on the Belmont turf.
“One worked yesterday, the other worked today. I’m happy with the two of them,” said Clement. “Therapist’s numbers are more or less the same, but going a mile and an eighth we always have a question mark with the distance.”
Scott D. Krase, and Peter G. Stokes’ Wegetsdamunnys and Sweet Home Stables, Mark Parkinson, Brian F. Martin, Steven Bouchey, and Tony Weintraub’s Munchkin Money will look to add to their purse earnings in the $125,000 John Hettinger at nine furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares.
Both fillies breezed a half-mile on the turf Sunday with Wegetsdamunnys clocked in 48.25 and Munchkin Money in 52 flat.
“Wegetsdamunnys and Munchkin Money worked this morning on the grass and I was very happy with them,” said Clement. “They’re both in good order.”
(Perfect Alibi winning the G1 Spinaway Stakes. She will be pointed to the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland next / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
Perfect Alibi breezes for G1 Darley Alcibiades
Tracy Farmer’s multiple graded-stakes winner Perfect Alibi breezed a half-mile in 49.05 on the main track Sunday under exercise rider Amy Mullen in preparation for the Grade 1, $400,000 Darley Alcibiades at 1 1/16-miles on October 4 at Keeneland.
Trained by Mark Casse, Perfect Alibi was perfect in two starts at Saratoga, including a win in the Grade 2 Adirondack ahead of her impressive Grade 1 Spinaway score.
Perfect Alibi worked in company with Gary Barber’s New York-bred maiden winner Violent Point, who was clocked in 49.12. Violent Point finished fourth last out in the Seeking the Ante.
“She worked a half in 49. It was just a maintenance breeze. I was really happy with the way she did it,” said Casse’s New York-based assistant Jamie Begg. “They both were nice and relaxed and did it the right way. The filly she worked with broke her maiden New York-bred and we’re just waiting for a New York-bred stakes or allowance on the grass for her. We think grass might be her forte.”
Begg said Perfect Alibi will continue to train at Belmont for the time being.
“She’ll probably stay here until Keeneland opens and then ship up there to get a breeze over the track before she runs,” said Begg.
Begg also noted that Live Oak Plantation homebred Tap It to Win, a Florida-bred son of Tapit who won impressively at second asking at Saratoga when sprinting six furlongs is targeting the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on October 5.
Tap It to Win breezed five furlongs in 1:02.22 on Sunday on Big Sandy.
Crystalle breezes ahead of G2 Miss Grillo, Famished could try turf in G3 Pilgrim
A pair of impressive juveniles for trainer John Kimmel breezed Sunday morning on the Belmont Park turf with both covering a half-mile in 48 flat as they gear up for next respective stakes races later in the fall meet.
Undefeated Crystalle, a Palace Malice filly who won her stakes debut last out, posted her first workout since rallying from last of seven to win the P.G. Johnson on August 29 at Saratoga Race Course. It was also the first breeze back for Famished, who broke his maiden at second asking on August 31 at the Spa.
“Everything was very good today. They both breezed in hand and looked very comfortable,” Kimmel said. “The main thing was they were relaxed and finished well and they came back well.”
Crystalle, owned by Tobey Morton and Chuck Hovitz, is targeting the Grade 2, $200,000 Miss Grillo on Sunday, September 29 at Belmont, Kimmel said. Purchased for $220,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in April, she crossed the wire first in her debut on August 4 at Saratoga before being disqualified to third for interference.
Kimmel kept her at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for the P.G. Johnson, where she surged in the stretch to overtake Sweet Melania by a neck.
“It was impressive. She got pretty much left at the gate,” Kimmel said. “She probably spotted the field four or five lengths and still got up to win, so I thought that was pretty impressive.”
The Miss Grillo will also be contested at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Famished, also owned by Morton, made his first two starts on the main track, running third in his debut on August 10 in a six-furlong sprint at Saratoga before breaking his maiden at second asking going seven furlongs on the same track on August 31.
The Ontario-bred son of Uncle Mo could run on grass for his stakes bow, with the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim on September 28 the next likely spot, according to his conditioner. Famished is also nominated to the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne on October 5; a one-mile dirt race that’s a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November at Santa Anita.
“I just wanted to see what kind of work he would have if I ever wanted to try him on the grass,” Kimmel said. “Maybe the grass race might be easier. We’re trying to get to the Breeders’ Cup. He has grass in his pedigree being an Uncle Mo, so maybe we’ll try that.”
Four-time stakes winner Mr. Buff came out his Saturday breeze in good order and is on target for the $300,000 Empire Classic, the featured race on the Empire State Breeders’ Showcase Day card, on Saturday, October 19 at Belmont, Kimmel said.
Mr. Buff worked four furlongs in 48.01 on Big Sandy in his first workout since running seventh in the Grade 1 Woodward presented by NYRA Bets on August 31 at Saratoga.
Owned by Chester and Mary Broman, the New York homebred has won three stakes this year, capturing the Jazil in his 5-year-old bow in January at Aqueduct Racetrack and also registering back-to-back wins in the Saginaw on June 30 at Belmont and the Evan Shipman on August 7 at Saratoga. He is 3-0-1 in six starts this year and 10-6-4 with earnings of $696,286 lifetime.
(Catholic Boy before last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
Catholic Boy remains under consideration for G2 Kelso
Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Catholic Boy visited the Belmont training track on Saturday, breezing four furlongs in 51.59 seconds.
“I thought it was a good workout,” said conditioner Jonathan Thomas. “I feel like he’s coming back into form and so far, so good. This work, combined with last week’s [five furlongs, 1:00.40, September 7] and at Saratoga [four furlongs 48.44 seconds, August 31] have shown me we’re where we want to be at this point in deciding where to run him next.”
A six-time graded stakes-winner, the 4-year-old More Than Ready colt with Grade 1 wins on both the dirt and turf is under consideration to make his next start in the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap in what would be his first race since running second in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6.
“I’ll talk to the ownership group when I return from Keeneland and we’ll make a decision,” said Thomas. “The Kelso is certainly under consideration. We’ll see who else is pointing there and decide if that’s where we want to go, keeping in mind with our long-range goals.”
The Kelso, a one-turn mile on the main track is six weeks away from the Breeders’ Cup on November 2 at Santa Anita Park.
“The timing of the race is good, but we’ll confirm with the ownership group before making any decisions,” said Thomas.
In two starts this year, Catholic Boy won the Grade 2 Dixie at 1 1/16 miles on the Pimlico Race Course turf and returned to the main track finishing second to Preservationist in the 1 ¼-mile Suburban, who went on to win the Grade 1 Woodward.