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Honor Code breezes half-mile in advance of return
Honor Code, who will make his much-anticipated 2014 debut on Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, breezed four furlongs in :47 4/5 Sunday morning over the fast main track. Out of action since defeating Cairo Prince in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on November 30, the son of A.P. Indy schooled in the paddock Sunday afternoon, and will face four rivals in an 8 1/2-furlong allowance test on Wednesday.
"He worked a half-mile in :48, galloped out in a minute-and-change, I thought he went very well," trainer Shug McGaughey said. "I'd like to see a good race from him. Hopefully, he'll be good enough to win, but as long as we can get the kind of race into him where we feel we can go forward, that'll be good enough."
Owned by Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm, Honor Code rallied from way out in his first two starts. He came up the fence en route to a 4 1/2-length score in his debut at Saratoga, and was edged by Havana in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont in October. In the Remsen, the dark bay was forwardly placed throughout, and McGaughey hopes that his charge will get the right trip in three days' time. Among his rivals in that allowance test is Social Inclusion, who will break from the rail following his impressive debut at Gulfstream on February 22.
"I think that one horse in there (Social Inclusion) has got speed, and I would like for him to have a target," McGaughey added. "That's why I wanted to do something sharp with him today, to put him in the game. Hopefully, he'll break well and, even though I want him to have a target, he can't take himself completely out of it."
Jockey Javier Castellano will ride Honor Code on Wednesday.
McGaughey had originally intended to run Top Billing in the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 29, but that colt sustained a cannon bone fracture in his right foreleg during a workout on Saturday, and there is a chance Honor Code would take his place in the marquee event.
"The Florida Derby is possibility, especially with what happened yesterday," McGaughey said. "It sure would be nice to get a nice, easy race into him (on Wednesday) and he can move forward from it. It might be pushing him up a little bit, but it's not out of the question."
Top Billing, the third-place finisher in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) on February 22, shipped to Lexington to undergo surgery Sunday.
"He's got a non-displaced cannon bone fracture," McGaughey explained "He got to Kentucky this morning. Dr. (Larry) Bramlage said that he would operate on him at noon today.
"They'll put a couple screws in it and probably a plate, and it should come together. They'll take the plate out, so we're talking about three or four months. (Dr. Bramlage) feels like he should be able to come back fine."