Remsen hero Honor Code, who had been mentioned as a candidate for the March 15 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, will instead make his reappearance in Wednesday's 8TH race at Gulfstream Park. The Kentucky Derby hopeful will meet only four foes in the 1 1/16-mile allowance race, including flashy debut maiden winner Social Inclusion.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Honor Code attracted attention with his eye-popping, last-to-first maiden romp in the slop at Saratoga. The regally-bred son of A.P. Indy next tried the October 5 Champagne Stakes, just missing by a neck to Havana. Honor Code stretched out to two turns for the November 30 Remsen, and despite being collared by Cairo Prince, came again to prevail in a photo.
Plans originally called for Honor Code to commence his road to the Kentucky Derby in the February 22 Fountain of Youth, but he bruised his hind ankles at Payson Park over the winter, and his schedule had to be altered. Stablemate Top Billing was rerouted to the Fountain of Youth and finished a creditable, late-running third to Wildcat Red and General a Rod.
McGaughey decided to move Honor Code to Gulfstream Park, where he has worked regularly since mid-February. The ridgling most recently drilled five furlongs in :59 last Sunday.
As the Remsen winner, Honor Code will carry the top weight of 124 pounds in the $75,000 allowance. Javier Castellano, aboard for both of his stakes efforts, will guide him from post 4.
Fellow Triple Crown nominee Social Inclusion just began his career on the Fountain of Youth undercard, wiring a six-furlong maiden by 7 1/2 lengths. The Manuel Azpurua pupil set fast fractions of :22, :44 3/5 and :56 3/5 en route to finishing in 1:09 1/5. The Pioneerof the Nile colt now steps up in class and trip, but looms as the controlling speed from the rail. Luis Contreras retains the mount.
The only other Triple Crown nominee in the five-horse field is We're All Set, whose most notable result was a distant third in last October's In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. The Bill Kaplan runner has been well beaten in his last three, all in salty Gulfstream allowances. Fourth to Coup de Grace and Hy Kodiak Warrior in a one-mile contest on December 15, We're All Set was third to Top Billing and Surfing U S A on January 25 and fifth to Constitution, Tonalist and Mexikoma on February 22. The latter two came at this 1 1/16-mile trip.
Rounding out the quintet are Specialnightaction, 10th in a turf event where he ran for a $75,000 tag, and Ta Bueno, sixth in a $25,000 claimer in his latest.