• Honor Code works for G2 Remsen; Imagining emerges in fine fettle from G3 Red Smith victory
• Clearly Now preps for possible Cigar Mile start by breezing at Palm Meadows
All three are 3-year-old colts who are seeking their first victory against older horses. In their most recent starts, Forty Tales was second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap on October 26 at Belmont, Verrazano was fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on November 1 at Santa Anita, and Capo Bastone was 13th in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on November 2 at Santa Anita.
Forty Tales, a three-time graded stakes winner, breezed four furlongs in 51.40 seconds. Covering four furlongs in company later in the morning were Grade 1 Foxwoods King's Bishop victor Capo Bastone (47.66 seconds) and Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Haskell Invitational winner Verrazano (47.67 seconds), the two fastest workouts at the distance on the training track.
"[Capo Bastone and Verrazano] been working together quite a bit," said Pletcher. "We were looking for a similar type of work from both of them. I think it worked well in the past [and] just felt like it was a good match up. I thought both horses breezed really well. Both did it willingly, on the bridle, and gave me the indication they both bounced out of their Breeders' Cup races in good order.
"Forty Tales is a little less ambitious work horse," added Pletcher. "We thought he worked well for what he normally does."
Pletcher is expected to have contenders in all four graded stakes on the November 30 card at Aqueduct. The trainer said he likely will run Intense Holiday (four furlongs on the training track in 49.27) in the Grade 2 Remsen for 2-year-olds, Stopchargingmaria (four furlongs on the training track in 48.53) in the Grade 2 Demoiselle for 2-year-old fillies, and Teen Pauline (four furlongs on the training track in 49.27) and Galloping Giraffe (four furlongs on the training track in 51.41 seconds) in the Grade 3 Comely for 3-year-old fillies.
"I think [Intense Holiday] ran a sneaky good race [when fourth] in the [Grade 2] Nashua [on November 3 at Aqueduct]," said Pletcher. "He had a troubled trip and should have been second with a little clearer run."
Pletcher added that Caixa Eletronica is expected to make a title defense in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap on Thanksgiving, November 28.
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Lane's End and Dell Ridge Farms' Honor Code, most recently second in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne Stakes, breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:03.34 this morning on Belmont Park's main track in preparation for his next engagement, the Grade 2 Remsen on November 30.
"He went very well and Shug [McGaughey] said he was happy with the way he did it," said assistant trainer Buzz Tenney of the A.P. Indy colt, who in his only other start was a 4 ½-length, last-to-first winner of a seven-furlong maiden race on August 31 at Saratoga Race Course. "He'll have one more breeze next weekend, and that will be it."
Tenney also reported that Imagining emerged from his first graded stakes win in Saturday's Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap in good order. A front-running winner of two of his three previous starts, the 5-year-old Giant's Causeway horse displayed a new dimension in coming from off the pace in the 1 3/8-mile race.
"That was really nice to see," said Tenney. "The other thing we were pleased with was how well he acted shipping over to Aqueduct from Belmont. It seems as if he's really maturing in a big way recently."
McGaughey said after the race that Imagining could have one more start this year in California; if not, he would wait to launch his 2014 campaign in Florida.
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Clearly Now, who could make his first start in a Grade 1 by competing in the Cigar Mile, tuned up by breezing five furlongs in 1:01.75 on Sunday at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida.
"Lovely," said trainer Brian Lynch of the breeze. "I'm really happy. He finished up strong; we got him going the final eighth in 11 [seconds]."
A 3-year-old owned by Up Hill Stable, Clearly Now is exiting a 1 ½-length win over Forty Tales in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap on October 26 at Belmont Park. The Bold Ruler was Clearly Now's first start wearing blinkers and first against older horses.
"We're leaning [in favor of running in the Cigar Mile]," said Lynch. "He seems to be getting better and has improved with blinkers. He ran a great race the other day [in the Bold Ruler], and he got a great ride [from Jose Lezcano]."
Lynch said Clearly Now likely will breeze six furlongs next week at Palm Meadows prior to coming to New York.