It isn’t often that a maiden winner captures the imagine of the racing world, but anyone who saw the debut of Lane’s End and Dell Ridge Farm’s HONOR CODE, a 2yo colt from A.P. INDY’s final crop, came away thinking the saw a future star.
Unveiled by trainer Shug McGaughey in a seven-furlong maiden special on a rainy Saratoga day Aug. 31, the strapping colt looked hopelessly compromised when he dropped back to last shortly after the break and trailed the field by 22 3/4 lengths after a half in a reasonable :46 flat.
Figuring out the game in a hurry, however, he unleashed a huge rally along the inside in the stretch, flying past the leader at the sixteenth pole and winning off by 4 1/2 lengths over the sloppy going.
The win earned him TDN Rising Star status and plaudits from his conditioner. “I think he is a two-turn dirt horse in the making, and I think that’s what he’s going to want to do,” said McGaughey, who saddled Orb to win this year’s G1 Kentucky Derby. “We’ll be anxious to get him stretched out and see where that takes us.”
How impressive was HONOR CODE’s late kick? To put it into perspective, Brisnet’s pace figures–essentially in-race speed figures–lists his late-pace figure (from the second call of the race to the wire) at a staggering 138. Anything above a 100 would be considered very strong, and the great Zenyatta’s best-ever late-pace fig was a 130.
Lane’s End bought into HONOR CODE as a yearling from his breeder, Dell Ride Farm. “Honestly he’s one of the most remarkable looking A.P. INDYs I’ve ever seen,” Lane’s End’s Will Farish told the Thoroughbred Daily News. “We were so thrilled to get him being that it’s his last crop and how good he’s been to us. [HONOR CODE] was the entire package, a remarkable-looking individual. He’s beautifully balanced, very correct and everything that you’d hope for conformationally.”
HONOR CODE looks set to tackle stakes company in his next, possibly in either the GI Champagne S. at Belmont or the GI Breeders’ Futurity S. at Keeneland.
A.P. INDY, who was pensioned in 2011, has 25 juveniles in his final crop. In addition to HONOR CODE, others to watch out for include the WinStar homebred Commissioner, a 2yo colt who won in his second start at Saratoga going a demanding nine furlongs Aug. 29. Commissioner beat the well-regarded Souper Lucky by a head, and it was 22 1/2 lengths back to third.
Stay tuned for more updates on members of A.P. INDY’s last crop!