Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey was encouraged with how Honor Code was doing on the morning after making his long-awaited three-year-old debut.
Racing for the first time since beating Cairo Prince by a nose in the Grade 2 Remsen on November 30, Honor Code was asked for run by jockey Javier Castellano after a half-mile to get into contention but never challenged Social Inclusion.
Favored at 1-2 in the field of five, Honor Code was a decisive second, 17 1/4 lengths ahead of We're All Set in third.
"He seemed to come back fine," McGaughey said. "He ate up good last night and this morning and walked good. Everything looks fine. That's what you hope to see. I just think we caught a very good horse on a race track that he loved."
McGaughey said he will continue to monitor Honor Code before deciding on the next start, but both the March 29 Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial a week later remain under consideration. Honor Code had his seasonal debut delayed by minor bruising in his rear ankles, which prompted McGaughey to move the horse from Payson Park to Gulfstream in late January.
We're disappointed we didn't win, but I'm not disappointed in the effort," the trainer said. "I want to just see how he comes out of it and then I'll make up my mind exactly what we're going to do."
A neck second in the Grade 1 Champagne last fall, Honor Code's record reads 4-2-2-0.