01/29/2014 2:46PM

Gulfstream Park: Honor Code will miss Fountain of Youth Stakes

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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]

Daisy1Oopsy . More than 1 year ago
Just checking to see what the issue is with Honor Code, they have the issue (s) zeroed in on THE ANKLES plural. I am not the expert many who post here are, but that to me sounds like other issues causing it and now i see why some are questioning Honor Code. I hope we are all proven wrong. I like this horse.
B More than 1 year ago
First Honor Code, now Cairo Prince. The FOY has gone from one hot race to I'm not sure what.
michael More than 1 year ago
McGlaughlin says he will train Cairo Prince up to the Fla Derby. Let's hope he's right, instead of racing him against the competition in the FOY. Though maybe not machines, they need to race for stamina if they want the KD. I think this horse will struggle to get anything more than a 1/16 race. It sure didn't look like he was free and easy running the last 1/8 even with a big lead.
Greg More than 1 year ago
I love Top Billing over all except the Candy Ride colt, Shared Belief. Top Billing will be flying late.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Don't race Honor Code on a wing & a prayer. If he isn't ready for the Derby it's not the end of the world.
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
bruised rear ankle(s)....hmmm....you push off from behind......this nice colts not going to get it done for the derby..sorry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What I don't understand is the ridiculous uneven weight assignments given to these horses going for the KD. They are vying for points to get into the Derby where every horse will run with 126lbs. Yet why are they not equal weights when running for say The Holy Bull / Gotham or Lecomte. In the Lecomte they ran with 116 up to 122. The easy winner ran with 116. The weight assignments do not become equal until they reach the last stage before the Derby as in the Wood Memorial, Florida Derby, SA Derby, Louisiana Derby. Oddly enough the Arkansas Derby G1 which is on par points and dollars does not run on equal weights. These races leading up to the Derby are run like Handicap races. When Successful 2 year olds start to race as a 3 yr old they automatically assigned more weight. Not that I am a fan of your Shanghai Bobbies trying to go a Mile 1/4. If I were an owner I would start my potential Derby horse off late in the 2 yr old season. Just enough to get some foundation into him. Then sit him and make a run for the TC chase. Sound familiar? Sure if they are good enough to win the Derby then they would be good enough to win giving away 6lbs in lesser races. But thats not the point here. If you were an owner and you missed the Derby by a few points and the horses you ran against made it in because they ran with 6lbs less than you, Wouldn't you be PO'd?
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
you make excellent points and I agree
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Funny.....that never occurred to me...but I couldn't agree more.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Kiss this horse's derby chances goodbye.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
It also has a lot to do with the PRINCE at Gulfstream nobody wants to rumble with that Freak right now at Gulfstream where his tactical Speed and turn of foot is tailor made for that surface. Honor Code is best over a different more demanding surface and as the distances increase. He will have his best chance ( Shug knows all this very well ) and will try a feeler with Top Billing to see where their at.
Craig More than 1 year ago
Gotham,Wood,then Kentucky.That will still work.