10/30/2017 7:06PM

Code West pulls away to win Veterans


Code West flattered Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile entrant Iron Fist on Monday, when he set the pace and pulled clear by three lengths in the $50,000 Veterans at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M. The race served as the local prep for next month’s $150,000 Zia Park Distance Championship.

Hereditary finished second in the Veterans, 4 1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Forest Mouse.

Code West ($3.60) invaded from Remington Park in Oklahoma, where he ran second to Iron Fist in the $175,000 Governor’s Cup in his last start Sept. 24. Iron Fist is set to make his first start since that race Friday in the BC Dirt Mile at Del Mar. 

Code West broke sharply Monday and proceeded to set fractions of 23.79 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.15 for the half-mile while under pressure from Dewey. On the final turn and into the stretch, Forest Mouse made a run at the leader, but Code West had more and went on to cover the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.83.

Ramon Vazquez was aboard the winner for trainer Boyd Caster.

Caster said Code West, who won last year’s Zia Park Distance Championship, has a goal of returning for the 1 1/8-mile race Nov. 22. The Distance Championship is part of the annual Land of Enchantment card of $1.2 million in stakes that includes the $300,000 Zia Park Oaks and the $200,000 Zia Park Derby.

Code West on Monday earned $30,000 for the partnership of Bryan Hawk, Leo Hawk, and Tim Hawk. The Grade 3-winning son of Lemon Drop Kid now has career earnings of $791,227.