Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:08

In what was arguably the second most controversial disqualification of the year, GI Runhappy Travers S. hero Code of Honor(Noble Mission {GB}) was put up by the stewards as the winner of Belmont’s GI Jockey Club Gold Cup Saturday after the disqualification of GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita victor Vino Rosso (Curlin). The sophomore came up a nose short of his elder on the line after a lengthy stretch battle, but after an objection from Code of Honor’s pilot John Velazquez, Vino Rosso was disqualified and placed second for interference in the stretch.

Installed as the 2-1 second-choice behind favored GI Woodward S. scorer Preservationist (Arch) in this five-horse affair, Code of Honor broke sharply, but instantly relaxed and sat back in a joint last as Vino Rosso clocked a first quarter in :24.02 with MGSW Tacitus (Tapit) breathing down his neck. Code of Honor closed the gap a bit, leaving longshot Olympic Village (Congrats) to trail the field as he glided into fourth, right on the heels of Preservationist, as the half went in :47.73. Drawing even with the chalk a half-mile left to run, the W. S. Farish homebred ranged up three wide alongside Tacitus and Vino Rosso on the far turn. Tacitus backed out of it at the top of the lane, leaving the chestnut duo to decide the result. Code of Honor and Vino Rosso battle stride-for-stride down the lane, making light contact on multiple occasions, but it was Vino Rosso’s nose in front at the wire. However, Velazquez lodged a claim of foul and after a lengthy stewards inquiry, Vino Rosso was disqualified for the light brushing down the lane and Code of Honor was declared the new winner, earning a spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.

“Both horses ran incredible races and you hate to see it happen like this,” said Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. “I do think we had gotten by him and the other horse came out into us a little bit. We battled back to just be beaten by a nose. I can’t say enough about Code of Honor to be able to step up against older horses the way he did today. This horse is a pretty good horse now. He’s made so much improvement since the [Kentucky] Derby. I couldn’t be any prouder of him than I am.”

The conditioner continued, “I thought maybe Johnny had to move a little sooner than he wanted to just because Tacitus and Preservationist weren’t able to put the pressure on Vino Rosso. I thought we had him at every jump and [Vino Rosso] kind of came out. I knew he had come out, but I didn’t know they bumped because my view was watching sideways. When I saw the head on, then they threw the objection and inquiry, I thought there was a good chance they’d make a change. Johnny told me they got us twice pretty good.”

“Honestly, he came out and bumped my horse on me,” said Velazquez. “I had put the head in front of him and he bumped him. It kind of got my horse off balance for the second time when he bumped him. And now he puts the head in front of me and I’m trying to get back in front him and he beats me by a head or a nose or whatever it is.”

“I don’t go after anybody, but this is a wonderful horse and he deserved it,” said Farish. “I saw the pictures of it and it was definitely three bumps but bottom line, we’re all very excited. It was a really meaningful win for us. We had our family here from all over the country and Shug is just a great, great friend, a wonderful trainer and he did a fabulous job with this horse. This is just fantastic.”

As for the Breeders’ Cup, Farish said, “That’s up in the air. This horse needs a little vacation but on the other hand, he comes out of his races well and that is certainly a possibility.”

An impressive debut winner at Saratoga last August, Code of Honor uncorked a powerful late rally to be second at odds of 14-1 in Belmont’s GI Champagne S. Oct. 6. He was one of the talking horses leading up to last term’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but was scratched the morning of the race with a fever. Fourth as the favorite in Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man S. Jan. 5, he won the GII Fountain of Youth S. in Hallandale Mar. 2 and was third to Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) in a paceless renewal of the GI Florida Derby Mar. 30.

Crossing the line third in the GI Kentucky Derby May 4, the Lane’s End colorbearer benefitted from the disqualification of winner Maximum Security with a promotion to the place spot. Expertly handled by McGaughey, Code of Honor skipped the rest of the Triple Crown, as well as the GI Haskell Invitational S. and GII Jim Dandy S., and instead resurfaced in Belmont’s one-mile GIII Dwyer S., which he won with ease July 6. It was on to the Travers from there, where the chestnut sat the perfect trip under Velazquez, unleashing his trademark late turn of foot to score by three lengths over Tacitus and Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man).

Pedigree Notes:

Code of Honor, who is a May 23rd foal, is the only Grade I winner and one of two black-type winners by second-crop sire Noble Mission, a full-brother to superstar Frankel (GB) (Galileo {Ire}). The Lane’s End stallion’s other black-type scorer is Group 3 winner Spanish Mission. Code of Honor’s dam Reunited, victress of the 2005 GIII Thoroughbred Club of America S., is also responsible for 2016 GII Best Pal S. runner-up Big League (Speightstown) and a yearling colt by Karakontie (Jpn). The 17-year-old mare produced a colt by Lane’s End’s Honor Code May 1 of this year and was bred back to the farm’s Quality Road. Code of Honor’s broodmare sire Dixie Union was also a member of the Lane’s End stallion roster and his daughters are responsible for 38 stakes winners to date, including champion Caledonia Road (Quality Road) and Grade I winners Klimt (Quality Road), Mor Spirit (Eskendereya), New Year’s Day (Street Cry {Ire}) and Salty (Quality Road).

Saturday, Belmont Park
JOCKEY CLUB GOLD CUP S.-GI, $734,250, Belmont, 9-28, 3yo/up, 1 1/4m, 2:00.30, ft.
1–CODE OF HONOR, 122, c, 3, by Noble Mission (GB)
                1st Dam: Reunited (GSW, $326,771), by Dixie Union
                2nd Dam: Tivli, by Mt. Livermore
                3rd Dam: Bold Boston, by Bold Forbes
($70,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O/B-W. S. Farish (KY); T-Claude
McGaughey III; J-John R. Velazquez. $412,500. Lifetime
Record: 9-5-2-1, $2,298,320. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple
Plus*. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
*2–Vino Rosso, 126, c, 4, Curlin–Mythical Bride, by Street Cry
(Ire). ($410,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Repole Stable & St. Elias
Stable; B-John D. Gunther (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $150,000.
3–Tacitus, 122, c, 3, Tapit–Close Hatches, by First Defence.
O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-William I. Mott. $94,500.
Margins: 4, NO, 1. Odds: 2.00, 3.60, 2.80.
Also Ran: Preservationist, Olympic Village.
*Finished first, but was disqualified and placed second.


Source: TDN