Code of Honor makes valiant return in G3 Dwyer
by Najja Thompson
Making his first start since finishing third and placed second following the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Code of Honor earned his second graded stakes win besting a field of six in the 102nd running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer to kick off the stakes action for the Stars & Stripes Racing Festival on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 3 with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez aboard as the even-money favorite, Code of Honor settled comfortably in last position early as Majid led up front, setting fractions of 23.83 seconds for the opening quarter mile and the half in 47.95.
At the quarter pole, Code of Honor moved to the three-path and found an opening at the top of the stretch with Final Jeopardy and Rowayton in close pursuit. In an all-out drive, Code of Honor extended away to win by 3 ¼ lengths.
He completed the one-mile distance in a final time of 1:35.81 on a fast main track.
"He ran as we expected," said Velazquez. "I was behind the horse I expected to be. I went to go to the outside, and Jose [Ortiz, aboard Mihos] went to the outside, so I went back to the inside and he responded right away. Today, he put it all together the way we expected out of him. Hopefully, he can continue doing that going forward."
Returning $4.30 for a $2 win wager, the homebred son of Noble Mission for owner and breeder W.S. Farish boosted his earnings to $1,215,820, picking up his second win from five starts this year after capturing the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in March at Gulfstream Park.
"He is a pretty classy horse," said winning conditioner Shug McGaughey. "I was just talking to Johnny. We were talking about how quiet he was in the paddock and then when I gave Johnny a leg up, he gets on his toes, goes to the post that way and then he breaks and he was there. I think that's exactly the way he wants to run; to just drop back out of it a bit and, depending on the pace, making one run like that. I thought he was a pretty easy winner today. Hopefully, we have a horse to come back with and we'll see what happens down the road."
Following Final Jeopardy in second was Rowayton, Mihos, Majid and Whiskey Echo.