Honor Code Last To First To Take Swift Met Mile - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Honor Code Last To First To Take Swift Met Mile

Honor Code, seen here winning the Met Mile, is one of seven G1 winners in the Whitney

Honor Code punched his ticket to the 2015 Breeders' Cup Mile with a dazzling last-to-first performance in the G1 Met Mile on the Belmont Stakes undercard on Saturday. The race got off to a bumpy start when Bayern stumbled badly coming out of the gate and lugged left, crossing over several rivals to his inside. Honor Code kept out of the fray and was far back early, then began rolling under a confident Javier Castellano through mid-stretch, besting favored Tonalist by 3 3/4 lengths.

The win is the second for the 4-year-old ridgling from three starts this year, including a half-length effort in the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap. The Shug McGaughey trainee has finished off the board just once in his now-eight race career.

Honor Code is owned by Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm and is a homebred for Dell Ridge. He was bred in Kentucky and is the son of A.P. Indy and Storm Cat mare Serena's Cat.

Tonalist was second, followed by Private Zone. Bayern finished last after his difficult start. The final time for the mile was a quick 1:33.18.

See the full chart here.

Quotes from the Metropolitan Handicap, courtesy of the NYRA press office

Shug McGaughey, winning trainer of Honor Code (No. 9): “I was a little concerned with how far back we were, but he kicked today and the speed came back to him. I saw the fractions, but I was also watching Tonalist because I knew if he kicks that [the speed] will come back to him, too. We just kicked harder today.

“When he came off the elbow, I [thought he'd get there] because he was doing so much running. At the three-eighths pole, I wondered, but when he was getting to the horses as quick as he was and I saw him get to Tonalist, I knew he had him beat and I thought we were OK.

“Javier said, 'At the eighth pole, I ran by them all.' We're tickled to death with the effort. He's been a special horse all along. He threw in a bad one at Churchill Downs. Javier came back and he blamed the track. I had to blame the track. We didn't get the scenario, either, with the pace. He's got an affinity for New York tracks.

“It means a lot [to win the Met Mile]. It's a race I've held in high esteem for a long time. I've just been beat in it a couple times. This is a big thrill for me.

“I don't know what I'll do. We've got the Suburban here going around one turn. He did win the Remsen going around two turns but that was kind of a crazy race. I'll just have to try and figure it out.”

Javier Castellano, winning jockey aboard Honor Code (No. 9): “It worked out great. He broke well out of the gate, but I was concerned a little bit because for some reason he doesn't show speed early in the race. I was kind of concerned about it down the backside. At the half-mile pole, I asked him a little, but he didn't pick it up. At some point I gave up. I just wanted to take my time, and it paid off in the end. I saved all the ground, and forget about it, when I pushed the button he took off and gave me a beautiful stride. By the eighth pole I passed all the horses and it was over.”

Christophe Clement, trainer of second-place finisher and beaten favorite Tonalist (No. 4): “I changed to the eastern style of racing by making him very sharp. Looking back, maybe it was a mistake. In the meantime, the winner was very impressive. We live to fight another day.”

John Velazquez, jockey aboard second-place finisher and beaten favorite Tonalist (No. 4): “I thought we had a good trip, perfect trip. We were where we like to be. He settled OK — got a little bit strong on the backstretch, so I put him right behind other horses and he settled — and when I made my move the other horse [Honor Code] was faster than me.”

Martin Garcia, rider aboard last-place finisher Bayern (No. 7): The ground broke out a little bit [under him at the start], but he tried to break sharp. Right away he came back and he was dragging me. I couldn't slow down and he was just going too fast.”

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