02/02/2013 6:19PM

Gulfstream Park: Honorable Dillon holds off Forty Tales in Hutcheson

Courtney Heeney
Honorable Dillon and Joe Rocco Jr. win the Grade 2 Hutcheson on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Honorable Dillon may be a little on the green side but was still talented enough to outlast the fast-closing Forty Tales to register a half-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

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

With Joe Rocco Jr. aboard, Honorable Dillon stalked the leaders, rallied three wide into the stretch, took command from Undrafted between calls near midstretch, then withstood Forty Tales’s closing surge despite finishing on his left lead. Forty Tales broke slowly, appeared to be struggling while racing along the inside for the opening half-mile of the seven-furlong Hutcheson, was finally able to swing outside entering the stretch, then finished best of all to nail Undrafted by a nose to be second.

Merit Man, who won the Grade 3 Spectacular Bid on New Year’s Day, finished a tiring fourth after tracking the early pace.

Honorable Dillon is a 3-year-old son of Tapit owned by Joe Bucci and trained by Eddie Kenneally. He completed the distance in 1:22.53 and paid $7.20.

“It set up good,” said Kenneally. “I thought there was some speed in the race, which there was. He relaxed beautifully, stalked from the outside, and really dug in. He’s still a little green. He was on the wrong lead through the stretch, but he gutted it out. He’s determined. He’s a nice horse who is on the improve.”

Kenneally voiced his displeasure at the fact the Hutcheson did not earn Honorable Dillon any qualifying points for this year’s Kentucky Derby.

“It’s a shame these Grade 2 stakes aren’t getting any points for the Kentucky Derby. I think it’s wrong,” said Kenneally. “We may try to stretch him out. He’s bred to go farther than seven-eighths. Can he do it? We’ll find out when we try.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher acknowledged having post 1 was likely the undoing for Forty Tales, who suffered his first setback in three starts.

“It was a difficult post going seven-eighths for a horse to make one run, but in spite of all that, he ran a great race," Pletcher said. "He just ran out of real estate. I wish we could have gotten a better post position, but we’re really happy with his effort.”