Chrome Shines in the California Sun
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL., March 9, 2014—It’s been good news and bad news for Shug McGaughey in the last 72 hours. The good news is that four seemingly sacrificial three year olds will serve to welcome Honor Code back to the races on Wednesday.
The bad is the loss of Top Billing from the Florida Derby due to a cracked cannon bone suffered in a Payson Park workout Saturday morning. The news could have been worse as Honor Code, at the moment, is expected to resume his career following surgery.
To what extent the right front cannon non-displaced fracture takes a toll is unknown but for now the prognosis is good. He was for surgery Sunday in Kentucky with Dr. Larry Bramlage. "They'll put a couple screws in it, and probably a plate, and it should come together. They'll take the plate out so we're talking about three or four months. Dr. Bramlage feels like he should be able to come back fine."
In an allowance race Wednesday, it is of great interest to see how well Honor Code has recovered from bruised hind ankles, also suffered while training at Payson Park. Javier Castellano rides the 3-5 early line favorite.
McGaughey said that winning would be nice but having “something to push on with” is what’s important, and that he could return in the Florida Derby depending on how he races over the speed favoring course.
If not, it will be on to Aqueduct a week later, April 5. We believe the Remsen winner is 3-5 to have his final Derby prep in Queens.
Honor Code worked a half-mile in :48 and galloped out in a minute-and-change for Wednesday's allowance prep. "I'd like to see a good race from him. Hopefully he'll be good enough to win, but as long as we can get the kind of race into him where we can go forward, that'll be good enough."
"I think [Social Inclusion] has got speed and I would like for [Honor Code] to have a target. That's why I wanted to do something sharp with him, to put him in the game."
The Dude Abides
HALLANDALE BEACH, March 8, 2014--—If all the renewals were like yesterday’s, the Big Cap would be the BIG CAP again. And unless Meydan, for some reason, installs a dirt track, the Santa Anita Handicap will continue attract many of the best older horses in America.
Saturday’s renewal was billed as the “Epic Rematch,” of course. After all, the last time the win and place horses continued their battle from the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic was in 1988; in the end Alysheba over Ferdinand.
The rematch was the draw, not the fact that redoubtable Game On Dude was trying to become the first horse to win the Big Cap thrice, thus surpassing three dual winners; Lava Man, Milwaukee Brew and the legendary John Henry.
On Saturday at Santa Anita, Game On Dude became a bone fide legend. Yes, speed had a big advantage in Arcadia yesterday, with four of the seven dirt races won wire to wire, one from a chaser, one from a close-up inside stalker and, oh yes, Sahara Sky.
Game On Dude, who I believed was done, D-U-N, stunned everyone at the track, those in simulcast land and still more on national television. He just didn’t become the first three-time winner of this West Coast classic, he made his rivals look outmatched.
Even as Hear the Ghost chewed on him through fast splits; 22.91, 45.34 and 1:09.39, the Dude had the audacity to trip the timer in 1:32.57 for the mile and stopped it completely after a mile and a quarter in 1:58.17.
Are you kidding me? Seven year olds not named Kelso or Forego or John Henry are not supposed to do things like this. As the kids would say; it was awesome. Awesome Again, as the pedigree would say.