03/23/2014 2:18PM

Kentucky Derby prospect Honor Code out with suspensory tear

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Tom Keyser
Honor Code worked a half-mile Saturday in preparation for the Wood Memorial, but returned with a slight tear in a suspensory ligament and will be sidelined indefinitely.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Honor Code is off the Kentucky Derby trail and will be sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with a slight tear in his right hind upper suspensory, trainer Shug McGaughey said  Sunday.

Honor Code was considered one of the leading Derby candidates entering his 3-year-old campaign after winning 2 of  3 starts at 2, including the Grade 2 Remsen, his lone setback last season a neck defeat in the Grade 1 Champagne. But Honor Code’s 3-year-old debut was delayed after he missed 10 days of training in January due to a minor ankle issue. He finally returned to the races at Gulfstream Park on March 12, finishing a well-beaten second behind Social Inclusion, who set a track record winning the 1 1/16- mile  allowance race by 10 lengths.

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

Honor Code worked a half-mile in  48.12 seconds Saturday at Gulfstream Park and was slated to have his final Derby prep in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial on April 5.

“He had a little filling in his right hind suspensory this morning  and when we checked it out, we discovered he had a slight tear,” said McGaughey, who won the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Orb. “We’ll give him 60 days off and then re-evaluate. The positive side is that he should be able to come back and have a productive career later on.”

Honor Code is the latest in a long list of highly regarded 3-year-olds who have suffered injuries that have ended their Kentucky Derby aspirations,  including the second for McGaughey, whose Top Billing is currently recuperating from surgery to repair a cracked cannon bone. Other prominent defections include the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day and reigning 2-year-old champion Shared Belief.

“It just goes to show you what this game can be like, when you see so many of these top 3-year-olds suddenly out of the Derby picture,” said McGaughey. “But that’s part of the gig.”