Code of Honor puts in "excellent" work ahead of Breeders' Cup Juvenile
by NYRA Press Office
- Servis seeking Breeders' Cup success
- No Dozing on target for G3 Bold Ruler
- Gargan still pondering options for Divine Miss Grey
- NYRA Bets Breeders' Cup 'Bankroll Builder' highlights Saturday's graded stakes action
- Apprentice rider Joey Martinez out 2-4 weeks with fractured jaw
W.S. Farish's homebred Code of Honor returned to the worktab Friday, breezing four furlongs in 48.90 seconds on Belmont Park's main track as he prepares for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile on November 2 at Churchill Downs.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said he was impressed with the work, which featured fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez aboard, as Code of Honor registered his first breeze since running second by three lengths to Complexity in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 6.
"I thought he worked excellent. It was kind of more than I hoped for," McGaughey said. "He ran off easy and finished up well, galloped out great and seemed to come back good."
In his debut, Code of Honor broke his maiden going gate-to-wire in a six-furlong sprint on August 18 at Saratoga Race Course. Stretching out to a mile in the Champagne, Code of Honor stumbled badly at the break. But the 2-year-old Noble Mission colt rallied for runner-up status, earning him four points towards qualifying for the 2019 Kentucky Derby and propelling him into the Juvenile, which is contested at 1 1/16 miles and could have major implications for the Eclipse Award for 2-Year-Old Male.
"It [Friday's work] verified his first two races, plus it looks like the Champagne didn't take too much out of him," McGaughey said. "I think we're in pretty good shape. Johnny was impressed with the way he went, so everything was positive."
McGaughey said he expects to breeze Code of Honor one more time before shipping to Kentucky.
Allen Stable's Danceland is expected to work Monday and is targeting the Grade 3, $400,000 Long Island on November 24 at Aqueduct Racetrack, McGaughey said. The 4-year-old Tapit filly ran fourth in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at 1 ¼ miles on October 7 at Belmont. The Long Island, the first graded turf stakes for fillies and mares on the Aqueduct docket, will be contested at 1 3/8 miles.
McGaughey also said Stuart S. Janney III's and Phipps Stable's multiple graded-stakes winner Inspector Lynley will breeze Monday. The 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid ran fifth in the Grade 2 Knickerbocker last out on October 8 at Belmont.
"They're both doing fine. I'll be out of town this weekend, so I'll probably work them on Monday," McGaughey said.
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Servis seeking Breeders' Cup success
Jason Servis is enjoying the best year of his career with more than $5.7 million in purse earnings from 112 wins entering Friday, equaling his previous best win total set last season, and with up to five horses in line for a shot at the Breeders' Cup, the best may be yet to come for the veteran conditioner.
Servis ran second in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint with Tightend Touchdown and could hold a strong hand in the 5 ½-furlong event come November 3 at Churchill Downs with Vision Perfect, Rainbow Heir and World of Trouble, who all worked over the Belmont Park training track Wednesday. In addition to his veteran turf sprinters, Servis will also be looking for Breeders' Cup success with 2-year-old Uncle Benny, who is hoping to get into the Juvenile Turf, and 3-year-old Firenze Fire, who is pointed to the Dirt Mile.
Call Paul, winner of the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, is not Breeders' Cup nominated and will instead opt for the Grade 3 Nashua on November 4 at Aqueduct.
Uncle Benny, a last-to-first winner of the Futurity on October 7 at Belmont, earned a berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint as part of the Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' Challenge Series, but Servis believes the Declaration of War colt would appreciate stretching out.
"I'm trying to go in the mile [Juvenile Turf] instead of the five and a half [Juvenile Turf Sprint]," Servis said of Uncle Benny who earned an 80 Beyer Figure in his half-length Futurity score. "I think the further the better. His numbers jumping up had a lot to do with it being his second start and a lot to do with it being on turf. Good handicappers will tell you the third start of the lifetime is the best, so let's hope that's true."
Owned by Ara Aprahamian, Uncle Benny is perfect through two starts, having graduated in front-running fashion on August 24 over five furlongs on the Monmouth Park main track. The strapping young colt is lightly raced after being given time to grow into his robust frame.
"Most of the yearlings are broke in September, but I opted to keep him in Kentucky until after Christmas to give him another four months because he was big and gangly. I sent him to Jeff Kirk in Ocala to break him and if he called me once he called me a hundred times raving about this horse. When I got him, I was in awe," Servis said. "The fact that he won on the dirt, he's probably just that good because I don't know that he's a dirt horse. He went fast too on the dirt. I didn't think the turf would be a big deal, he looks the part. I'm very high on the horse."
Mr. Amore Stable homebred Firenze Fire was a runaway winner of the Grade 3 Dwyer on July 9 at Belmont but was nip and tuck to get home last time out in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob at Parx when savaged in the shadow of the wire by runner-up Whereshetoldmetogo.
Firenze Fire, a bay son of Poseidon's Warrior, has won six of 13 starts with $1,074,100 in purse earnings including scores over a mile on the dirt in the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont as well as the Jerome in the mud at Aqueduct.
"We're looking at the Dirt Mile. It's not for sure but we're thinking of going that route," Servis said of the one-turn tilt at Churchill. "He's got three wins going a one-turn mile. He's going to be up against it as a 3-year-old going up against older horses. Yes, it's late in the year, so it does kind of even out but there's going to be some tough older horses in there."
In his only previous start at Churchill, Firenze Fire split the field when 11th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby.
Servis will hope to saddle a trio of turf stalwarts in the Turf Sprint, a race that is likely to come up oversubscribed.
Mr. Amore Stable's Vision Perfect was claimed for $80,000 in June and has since won the Silks Run at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Parx Dash. Last out, the 6-year-old Pollard's Vision horse finished a neck behind Pure Sensation on September 3 in the Grade 3 Turf Monster at Parx.
"He's won a Grade 3 and a stake at Gulfstream this year and he was second in another Grade 3 this year. I'm thinking he can get in," said Servis.
Vision Perfect breezed four furlongs in :50.80 over the Belmont training track on Wednesday morning.
"Vision Perfect is training great," assistant trainer Henry Argueta said. "All three of these turf sprinters are doing well right now. We worked all three turf horses on the dirt."
New Farm homebred Rainbow Heir, a 14-time winner from 32 career starts, made his return to racing with a rallying third in the Turf Monster off a seven-month layoff - that included a stint at stud - from his Gulfstream Park turf sprint score on January 27.
Argueta said he was pleased with what he saw from Rainbow Heir who worked four furlongs in :50.60 on Wednesday morning.
"Rainbow Heir worked good. He did what he was supposed to do. He's doing great here," said Argueta.
World of Trouble, at age 3, is the youngest of the Servis trained turf trio. The bay son of Kantharos has won four of seven starts, including victories in the Pasco at Tampa Bay Downs, the Quick Call at Saratoga and the Allied Force at Belmont. The latter two scores came in quickly-run turf sprints including a career-best 103 Beyer number for the Allied Force.
"World of Trouble is a 3-year-old that has been running against 3-year-olds but has been running extremely fast numbers. If all three get in, I could have three contenders for the Turf Sprint," Servis said.
Argueta confirmed Servis' assessment following World of Trouble's easy breeze on Wednesday when covering four furlongs in :51.40.
"He's really sharp right now. The plan is for him to work again next week on the dirt here," said Argueta.
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No Dozing on target for G3 Bold Ruler
Lael Stables' No Dozing remains on target for the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap on October 27 at Belmont Park, trainer Arnaud Delacour said by phone.
The last of 18 graded stakes on the Belmont fall meet schedule, the Bold Ruler, for 3-year-olds and up going seven furlongs on Big Sandy, will feature a cutback in distance for No Dozing, who was fourth in the one-mile Grade 2 Kelso Handicap last out on September 22 at Belmont.
"I think it's a good spot for him," Delacour said. "He should appreciate the seven-eighths. Maybe the mile wasn't exactly what he wanted. But he's been training well since the last race and I've been looking forward to running him."
The son of Union Rags made a successful 4-year-old debut off an eight-month layoff, where he won an optional claimer on July 21 at Saratoga Race Course. No Dozing, who was gelded during the time off, earned a personal-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure for that win at seven furlongs, which marked the same distance at which he ran fifth in the Grade 1 Forego on August 25 at the Spa.
Delacour said dropping down into a Grade 3 should suit No Dozing, who won his only previous stakes in the 2017 Concern at Laurel Park.
"I was a little bit disappointed after the last race," Delacour said. "I thought the one-turn mile would be very tough, but he ran a good race, he only got beat by 2 ½ lengths. I felt he would have been a little more efficient.
"I'm happy with the horse. He didn't move forward enough to compete with the best in the category, but I'm excited to run him [again]."
Delacour said No Dozing is expected to breeze again on either Saturday or Sunday before the Bold Ruler.
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Gargan still pondering options for Divine Miss Grey
Trainer Danny Gargan reported multiple graded-stakes placed filly Divine Miss Grey exited her game second-place finish in the Grade 1 Beldame on Jockey Club Gold Cup Day, held October 6, in good order. But the conditioner said he was still considering a number of options on where he might run her next.
Kicking off her 2018 campaign with back-to-back stakes wins in the Interborough and Heavenly Prize at Aqueduct, Divine Miss Grey has picked up four wins from eight starts, including a pair of second-place finishes in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at the Big A in April and the Beladame to Wow Cat.
"She's doing really good. I thought she ran really big in the Beldame given the circumstances," said Gargan. "It was a huge race for her. She kind of got stuck down there on the inside which was kind of unlucky for her running style. Had she been a little closer to the pace, I don't think we beat Wow Cat, but she probably only gets beaten a length instead of three."
Among the races under consideration for the 4-year-old Divine Park daughter are the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Longines Distaff and the Grade 2 Chilukki, both at Churchill Downs, and in the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct. All of those potential spots are set for Saturday, November 3.
"We're going to work her here next week and we'll make a decision where to go," said Gargan. "I would prefer to run in the Chilukki than the Breeders' Cup, or maybe the Turnback the Alarm at Aqueduct. Now that Abel Tasman is going to the Distaff, I don't really want to run against her as well as Monomoy Girl."
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NYRA Bets Breeders' Cup 'Bankroll Builder' highlights Saturday's graded stakes action
The NYRA Bets Breeders' Cup 'Bankroll Builder' promotion will be held Saturday. NYRA Bets members can earn a $10 per race bonus for the five-race Breeders' Cup prep series, wagering a minimum $20 in exacta wagers on select races that will continue Saturday with the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland.
Participants will receive a $10 bonus credited to their account win or lose when they bet a minimum $20 on an exacta wager on a qualifying race through a NYRA Bets account on-track, online, or via a mobile device.
The final NYRA Bets Breeders' Cup bankroll series will take place on Saturday, October 27 with the Grade 3, Autumn Miss at Santa Anita Park.
Qualifying bonuses acquired during the 'Bankroll Builder' promotion will be placed in participating wagering accounts on Thursday, November 1 heading into Breeders' Cup weekend that runs Friday, November 2 through Saturday, November 3. Bonuses acquired during the Breeders' Cup Bankroll series can be wagered throughout Breeders' Cup weekend.
For additional information on the Breeders' Cup 'Bankroll Builder' promotion, please visit: NYRABets.com.
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Apprentice rider Joey Martinez out 2-4 weeks with fractured jaw
Apprentice jockey Joey Martinez suffered a fractured jaw after being dismounted from Mo Flash ahead of Belmont Park's Race 7 on Thursday. He was transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset following the incident and will undergo further evaluation to determine next steps.
"He has a fracture, the extent of which we won't know until they further assess the injury," said agent Jeff Farkask. "We expect it will take 2-4 weeks to heal, with him being young, probably closer to two weeks. He's in good spirits."
Farkask is hopeful that Martinez, who has posted a record of 6-3-5 from 41 mounts at the Belmont Fall meet, will return for the second week of the Aqueduct Winter meet.
"It was a freak accident, something you can't really prepare for and it couldn't have come at a worse time because he was really starting to shine," said Farkask. "He was starting to get on a roll and we really appreciate all the horsemen that have been using him. We're looking forward to a great winter at Aqueduct on his return."
The 25-year-old native of Brooklyn, NY picked up his first win on December 8, 2016 when he guided Playthatfunnymusic to victory in an Aqueduct maiden tilt.