01/29/2014 1:46PM

Gulfstream Park: Honor Code will miss Fountain of Youth Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Honor Code has missed 10 days of training due to "bruising up his back ankles," trainer Shug McGaughey said.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Shug McGaughey said Wednesday that Honor Code had missed 10 days of training after “bruising up his back ankles a little bit” and was now unlikely to make the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 22.

Honor Code, who closed his 2-year-old campaign defeating Cairo Prince in the Grade  2 Remsen, has been training at Payson Park, where he had a couple of easy three-furlong works on Dec.  31 and Jan. 18.

“He had a little setback, I wasn’t sure what the matter was with him at first, but we’ve got it pretty much pinpointed down to his back ankles,” McGaughey said. “I think he’ll be fine. I’ll start him back to the track on Friday, and we’ll see where he takes us. I want to get him back to training first, then we’ll figure out a work schedule after that. I don’t know where or when he might run, but the Gotham could be a possibility.”

With Honor Code now all but out of consideration for the Fountain of Youth, it increases the likelihood that his stablemate Top Billing could make his stakes debut in the important Kentucky Derby prep. Top Billing, a son of Curlin owned by William Farish and E.J. Hudson Jr., was an impressive allowance winner here last Saturday and has now captured 2 of 3 starts, with his lone setback a narrow defeat at the hands of Commissioner here earlier this month.

“I was up at Payson on Tuesday and was very pleased with what I saw from Top Billing,” McGaughey said. “I thought he came out of his last race really well. He went back to the track this morning. I probably would have looked for a different spot with him if Honor Code ran in the Fountain of Youth, but now that would probably be the logical race for him as long as he continues to do well.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]