10/10/2013 3:02PM

Belmont Park notes: Honor Code to skip Breeders' Cup Juvenile

Barbara D. Livingston
Honor Code, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Champagne, will target the Grade 2 Remsen instead of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With an eye toward next year, trainer Shug McGaughey is taking a conservative route for the rest of Honor Code’s 2-year-old campaign.

McGaughey said Thursday that Honor Code, the runner-up to Havana in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 5, will skip the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 and instead be pointed to the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.

McGaughey said the decision was made Wednesday following a discussion with Will Farish, the managing partner of Lane’s End Racing, which co-owns the colt with Dell Ridge Farm.

“We didn’t want to go all the way to California, run him over a speed-conducive racetrack,” McGaughey said. “I just thought we’d be better off waiting for the Remsen and running him there. Our main objective is next year. I thought getting a two-turn race over at Aqueduct would be better for him. That track is pretty good at that time of the year.”

Honor Code, a son of A.P. Indy, won his debut at Saratoga by 4 3/4 lengths, rallying from as far back as 22 lengths. In the Champagne, Honor Code was again far back early before being floated eight wide in the stretch. He made a run at Havana through the lane but fell a head short.

McGaughey said it was difficult to skip the BC Juvenile, a race in which Honor Code likely would have been either the favorite or second betting choice.

“I wish the circumstances were different,” McGaughey said. “I just don’t think he’s the right horse right now to do that with. He was a little wired right after the race, which was not unexpected, but he was fine the next day. Like I said after the race, our main objective is next year. Time and distance is going to help him.”

With Honor Code out of the race, Havana, 2 for 2 for trainer Todd Pletcher, is likely to inherit the favorite’s role in the Juvenile. Pletcher said that based on comments McGaughey made after the Champagne, he was not surprised that Honor Code will skip the race.

“He’s a very good horse – I’m sure we’ll meet him down the road,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher said John Velazquez will ride Havana in the Juvenile. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode him in the Champagne, a day when Velazquez was at Keeneland to ride Wise Dan.

Vegas No Show eyes Discovery

Vegas No Show, the winner by a head over Midnight Taboo in Wednesday’s $100,000 Coastal Stakes at Belmont, could make his next start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 2, trainer Kelly Breen said.

“It would definitely be under consideration,” Breen said. “Keep him on the East Coast and see those heavy heads go on to the West Coast. He’s a horse that might be staying in New York for the winter. He ran decent at Aqueduct before, but he’s also run a few clunkers.”

After losing eight straight races, Vegas No Show has now won two straight. On Wednesday, jockey Junior Alvarado squeezed him between horses in midstretch, and he outkicked Midnight Taboo to gain the victory. Vegas No Show, owned by George and Lori Hall, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.77 and earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure.

“I’ve always liked this horse,” Breen said. “I hope this isn’t his last win. He does train nice, and he has trained nice. There were times I thought grass was going to be his calling, but he didn’t fire on the grass. Maybe he needed a little time to grow up – I don’t know.”

◗ Flat Out, third to stablemate Ron the Greek in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 28, worked four furlongs in 48.98 seconds Thursday over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. It was the fastest of 43 works at the distance. Flat Out is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race in which he finished third last year.