As long as there are no bumps along the way, highly regarded Honor Code's road to Louisville for the first Saturday in May is coming through Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who won his first Kentucky Derby last year with Orb, reiterated on Wednesday that Honor Code will make his three-year-old debut in the $600,000 Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 15.
"It looks that way," McGaughey said from his South Florida base. "So far everything looks good. He worked real good the other day and we'll work him again on Sunday. The plane goes out there on the 13th so we've got plenty of time."
Honor Code suffered a setback January 18 when stressing his hind ankles while working at Payson Park and he missed three weeks of training. McGaughey then moved him to his Gulfstream Park barn to keep closer watch on him and Honor Code was back on the work tab February 12 and has not missed any time since. On March 2, he traveled five furlongs in :59 for the sixth fastest move of 43 horses working the same distance.
McGaughey said that although Honor Code missed valuable training time, he believes the Remsen winner is in prime form.
"He's a good looking horse, that's for sure," said the trainer, who will accompany him to Hot Springs.
When breaking his maiden impressively at first asking August 31, Hall of Famer John Velasquez was in the irons and next out in the Champagne, at Belmont Park, Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard. His pilot for the Remsen was Javier Castellano.
"I've still got time to figure out who the rider will be," McGaughey said.
The Rebel is in the championship series of the Kentucky Derby points system and 50-20-10-5 points will be awarded for finishes from first through fourth. Since Honor Code hasn't started since the Remsen on November 30, he currently stands in 11th place on the Derby entry points list with 14. If he runs well and likes the track, McGaughey would likely send him back for the $1 million Arkansas Derby when 100 points come with the victory.