Aqueduct Racetrack Notes - December 1
By NYRA Press Office | 12/01/2013 03:58 PM ET
McGaughey looking forward to 2014 with Grade 2 Remsen hero Honor Code
Remsen runner-up Cairo Prince, Comely victress Wedding Toast in fine fettle Sunday morning, will soon depart for Florida
Pletcher plans ahead with G2 Demoiselle winner Stopchargingmaria, others
Flat Out exits G1 Cigar Mile win in good shape; future undetermined
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Speaking by telephone from South Florida, where he soon will be joined by Grade 2 Remsen hero Honor Code, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said the A.P. Indy colt came out of his victory in good order and will be prepared for a 2014 Triple Crown campaign.
"What impressed me the most was how he handled the day; he shipped over [from Belmont Park] well and broke a lot better," said McGaughey. "They went three-quarters in 1:17 but he was right there. He made the lead, lost it and then refocused. They went the last part in 11 and change and he beat a very nice horse [Cairo Prince] who'd run twice since Honor Code's last race."
Honor Code is now 2-1-0 from three career starts, having broken his maiden in a last-to-first effort going seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course and then finishing second to Havana in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne at a mile at Belmont Park.
"I was watching the replay and he galloped out well, which is what [jockey Javier Castellano] said in our conversation after the race," the trainer said.
McGaughey said Honor Code most likely would begin his 3-year-old campaign in Florida but left open the option of returning to New York for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial.
"He's going to be here in Florida; we'll watch him and see how he's doing," he said. "I've got nothing specific in my head other than he'll start when and where he tells us."
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After reporting that Grade 2 Remsen runner-up Cairo Prince emerged from his efforts in good order, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he remains convinced he has a top 3-year-old prospect in the gray son of Pioneerof the Nile.
"He was wide on both turns and then when he got there at the eighth pole, the jockey [Luis Saez] was maybe a little overconfident and thought he was the winner," said McLaughlin. "Then Javier [Castellano] came back [aboard Honor Code] and it was his day yesterday, winning five. Honor Code is a nice horse, but we were giving him six pounds and to lose by a nose, we feel like we have the best horse right now. Moving forward, we'll see."
McLaughlin said Cairo Prince would depart for Florida this week, with an eye toward the Triple Crown preps, possibly to include the Gotham and Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.
"He's the real deal," said the trainer. "He'll get the distance; he was unlucky yesterday."
McLaughlin added that Godolphin Racing's 4-year-old filly Wedding Toast, who ran her win streak to four in the Grade 3 Comely, also came out of the race in good order and will be traveling to Florida as well.
"Wedding Toast ran great; Javier rode her great and she dug in gamely," he said. "We'll look at coming back up here for races like the Top Flight and the Ruffian, just trying to keep her and Dance Card apart."
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Todd Pletcher started 14 horses at Aqueduct on Saturday and won three races, including the Grade 2 Demoiselle with Stopchargingmaria. On Sunday, the trainer discussed plans for many of the horses in that group.
Pletcher said Stopchargingmaria and Demoiselle second-place finisher Got Lucky will go to Palm Meadows in Florida to prepare for their 3-year-old seasons. Lexi Morgan, fourth in the Demoiselle, will remain in New York.
In the Cigar Mile, Pletcher sent out third-place finisher Verrazano, sixth-place finisher Forty Tales, and 10th-place finisher Capo Bastone.
"I believe Capo Bastone and Forty Tales will get a break," said Pletcher. "With Verrazano I haven't had the chance to talk to anyone from [the ownership groups of Let's Go Stable and Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith] to know what he is doing."
Heading to Florida are Intense Holiday (fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen) and Teen Pauline (third in the Grade 3 Comely). Master Lightning (fifth in the Remsen) and Galloping Giraffe (fifth in the Comely) will remain in New York, Pletcher said.
Pletcher swept the pair of maiden special weights for 2-year-olds on Saturday's card, winning with Dame Dorothy, a filly who debuted a half-length winner, and Surfing U S A, a colt who prevailed by 2 ¼ lengths in his second start.
"[Dame Dorothy] ran well, especially considering she didn't get away all that well and circled the field," said Pletcher. "I thought it was a promising effort. I thought Surfing U S A ran well, considering he recovered from a pretty significant stumble. They'll both go down to Florida as well."
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Plans are undetermined for Flat Out, who on Saturday earned his third Grade 1 win and first at one mile when he took the Cigar Mile Handicap by 1 ¼ lengths over Private Zone.
"I don't know if he's going to be a racehorse or a stallion," said Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who trains Flat Out for Preston Stables. "We have to hear from the owners what they have in mind."
Flat Out, a two-time winner of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational and Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, gave Mott his third win in the Cigar Mile. Mott first won the race, then called the NYRA Mile, in 1994 with Cigar. The race was renamed in honor of Cigar in 1997. Mott most recently won the Cigar Mile in 2011 with To Honor and Serve.
"[Flat Out] came back good," said Mott. "Looked just fine, and he ran a big race. It was a big day for Flat Out and us."