Mon, 06/08/2020 - 21:22

Honor A. P. (Honor Code) launched into action four wide into the stretch and powered home a dominating winner of Saturday’s rescheduled GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby.

After missing some time with a foot bruise earlier this year, the handsome dark bay made his belated sophomore debut in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 7, and ran a big one in defeat after making a strong middle move to chase home loose-on-lead wire-to-wire winner Authentic (Into Mischief).

Off as the 2-1 second choice to that re-opposing undefeated foe, Honor A. P. jumped well, while the chalk, whose greenness has been on display frequently thus far in his career, including his runaway win in the GIII Sham S., broke badly outward one to his outside.

Honor A.P. was smoothly into stride and settled in the second flight of horses beneath Hall of Famer Mike Smith, as Shooters Shoot (Competitive Edge) cut out the early fractions with Authentic three wide and facing the breeze down the backstretch. Drayden Van Dyke asked Authentic for some accleration three furlongs down and they poked a head in front, but Honor A. P. had stalked that one wherever he went, with the benefit of cover, and it was all over when he was pulled out widest into the lane.

Honor A.P., an $850,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase by Lee Searing’s C R K Stable, quickly claimed Authentic with big, rolling strides and proved a comfortable 2 3/4-length winner while continuing to gallop out with purpose. Rushie (Liam’s Map) ran on for third.

Honor A. P. is the first Grade I winner and second graded winner overall for young Lane’s End’s sire Honor Code.

“He ran great, it was a super effort. I’m just happy for everybody involved, and I can’t thank Mike Smith enough for all that he has done,” said winning trainer John Shirreffs, who also captured the 2017 Santa Anita Derby with Gormley and 2007 renewal with Tiago.

“We were happy with the way Honor A.P. was training for the race. We knew that he has tactical speed and Mike can put him pretty much where he wants. On the backside, we hoped he would get comfortable to have a nice little kick in the end, and it all worked out well. It’s up to him whether we run him again before the big dance. Running is probably the best option rather than training up to it, but we’ll wait and see how it all happens.”

After riding his third straight Santa Anita Derby winner, Smith added, “It seems the further you go with him the better, he’s just got that big long, beautiful, powerful stride. He gives every indication that he can go a mile and a quarter, just the way he galloped out today. I mean I had to pull him up. He just keeps going with that big stride, it’s almost as if horses have to take two [strides] to his one, it seems like. He just really reaches. John has done a great job with just putting in some really good long works into him and really galloping him out.”

Honor A. P. tipped his hand with a last-to-second rally (click for Second Chances feature) in his six-furlong unveiling at Del Mar Aug. 17, then stretched to two turns with a front-running tour de force going a mile in Arcadia Oct. 13. He finished 2 1/4 lengths adrift Authentic in the San Felipe.

“I wish I was at Santa Anita, but we were home with family and friends in Claremont,” Searing said. “It was a thrill. We knew he was special. He is really special. I’ve got to give John, Dave Ingordo and Mike Smith all the credit.”

Pedigree Notes: The dream for any new sire is prominent first-crop 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail and Lane’s End Farm can rest easy as Honor Code has two in his first crop: Honor A. P. and GIII Withers S. winner Max Player, who is scheduled to make his next start in the GI Belmont S. June 20. Grade III-placed Roadrunner’s Honor and additional stakes-placed Fashion Code complete the list of four black-type performers for the champion and dual Grade I winner. The blue-blooded Honor Code met a similarly accomplished mate in Hollywood Story, also a dual Grade I winner and millionaire. She had previously produced SW Miss Hollywood (Malibu Moon), MGSP Hollywood Star, and MSP Hoorayforhollywood. She has fillies waiting in the wings from the last two breeding seasons by Curlin and Tapit, respectively. Honor A.P.’s older half-sister, Hollywood Girl (Giant’s Causeway) shares the John Shirreffs shedrow with the Santa Anita Derby winner and is also owned by C R K Stable. A winner last year at three, she brought $875,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Dam sire Wild Rush, like Honor Code a previous winner of the GI Met Mile, hails from the Icecapade line, was eventually exported to Japan, and has produced 28 stakes winners out of his daughters.


Source: Thoroughbred Daily News