Updated on 09/17/2011 11:25AM

Honor in War: Woodford bomb


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - This has been a spring of breakthrough performances for Honor in War.

After impressing trainer Paul McGee with a victory in an allowance race at Keeneland on April 17, Honor in War followed with an upset win in Saturday's $445,300 at Churchill Downs.

Making his first start in a Grade 1 stakes, the 4-year-old Honor in War rallied from a stalking position on the final turn to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Requete. Patrol, who set the pace, finished third.

Ridden by David Flores, Honor in War ($50.60) ran 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1:46.47.

McGee's decision to start Honor in War in the Turf Classic, the richest turf race of the Churchill Downs meeting, was solidified after Honor in War beat three opponents in an allowance race over the same distance at Keeneland.

"It made all the sense in the world to run in here," McGee said. "He won his last race so very impressively. We took a shot. For his first stakes to be a Grade 1, it was real sweet. It was a pleasant surprise."

Flores had Honor in War in fourth-place for the first half of the race, stalking Patrol, who set slow fractions of 24.22 and 47.84 seconds. Honor in War was still fourth on the final turn, but rallied in early stretch to head Patrol. Racing well out from the hedge, Honor in War was not threatened in the final sixteenth.

Owned by Third Turn Stables, Honor in War has won 6 of 13 starts and earned $453,296.

Requete, last of eight on the first turn, rallied along the inside under Edgar Prado to finish second. He was trainer Bobby Frankel's first loss of the day, following stakes wins in three earlier races.

"He was running at the end, but the pace wasn't quick early," Prado said. "We'll hear about him in the future."

The Woodford Reserve drew a strong field.

Patrol was followed in order by by Perfect Drift, With Anticipation, Century City, Rouvres and Even the Score. With Anticipation was the 2-1 favorite.

With Anticipation was making his first start since finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park last October. He was second in this race last year.

Rouvres was in contention until the final turn before fading through the stretch. A Grade 1 winner in France last year, Rouvres was beaten 10 lengths.