Mon, 06/08/2020 - 21:16

Confidently handled by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, last year’s comebacking GI Runhappy Travers S. hero Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}) kicked off his 4-year-old campaign with a well-timed decision in Saturday’s GIII Westchester at Belmont.

Drawn widest in the field of nine, the Farish homebred settled slightly worse than midfield and was kept in the clear as Endorsed (Medaglia d’Oro) made an aggressive mid-race move beneath Joel Rosario to assume command at halfway. Code of Honor began to hit his best stride three furlongs from home and had Endorsed to catch, but had lost significant ground on the turn. But keeping to his task, the chestnut gradually reeled in Endorsed and edged clear late.

“I think he beat a pretty good horse in Endorsed,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. “They were pretty far in front of the rest of them. Coming off that long layoff, I was very pleased.

He continued, “I figured he’d like the track. Sometimes when it’s like that and its open, anything can win, but I think the two best horses ran one-two. We’ll have to see how he comes out of it. I don’t want to do too much with him; running back in the [GI Runhappy] Metropolitan [July 4] is an option; I’m not ruling it out.”

Code of Honor, an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 3-year-old male in 2019, was last seen finishing a well-beaten seventh in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 2.

He was placed first via disqualification over Vino Rosso (Curlin) in a controversial renewal of the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. at Belmont Sept. 28. His sophomore campaign also included wins in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. at Gulfstream and GIII Dwyer S. at Belmont. He was elevated to second after crossing the line third following the disqualification of Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) in the GI Kentucky Derby.


Source: Thoroughbred Daily News