Code of Honor
TrainerClaude R. McGaughey III
SireNoble Mission (GB)
Code of Honor was such an outstanding 2-year-old that he was among the favorites for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), but he was withdrawn from the race because of a mild fever. He returned to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey’s Belmont Park base before wintering in Florida to prepare for the Kentucky Derby (G1). He solidified a Derby spot with his Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) score and Florida Derby (G1) third-place finish.
In the Kentucky Derby, Code of Honor raced in mid-pack before scooting through a wide opening to briefly lead at the top of the stretch. The blazed-faced, white-legged chestnut crossed the finish in third, but was elevated to second upon Maximum Security’s disqualification. His connections had planned to bypass the remainder of the Triple Crown if he did not win the Derby, so Code of Honor took a short vacation from racing.
McGaughey said during that time that the colt matured physically and mentally. He lived up his early expectations by winning the Dwyer Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park July 6 in his return.
He further propelled himself to the head of the 2019 3-year-old class with a dominating three-length victory in the Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 24, the showcase race of the Saratoga meeting each year.
"It doesn't get old, but it can't take that long again," said McGaughey, who has now won four Travers Stakes dating back to his first 30 years ago with Easy Goer. "He's been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde horse. (In the Travers), he put it all together. He trained really well. The Dwyer was a really good race, so we were hoping we were going to see what we saw."
The Travers Stakes is run at the same 1 ¼ mile distance of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez doesn’t see that being an issue for Code of Honor.
"I never had any doubts about distance as a problem, just him putting his mind to running," Velazquez said after the Travers. "I made sure, when I got him out to the clear, he responded right away, so I was very happy for him. Obviously, we've been looking for this kind of performance for a long time. He's a late foal, not really knowing what to do [even though he's] run some really big races. He's never really put it together until (the Travers)."
Code of Honor races for his breeder William S. Farish, who consigned him to the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale, but he failed to reach Farish’s expected price and was listed as not sold on a final bid of $70,000. He was sent to Courtlandt Farm in Ocala, Florida where he excelled in his early lessons under saddle.
- October 18, 2019
Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie finished as the top-rated horse in final polling for the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings by a panel of leading Thoroughbred racing media, horseplayers and members of the Breeders’ Cup Racing Directors/Secretaries Panel.
- October 17, 2019
This is the last of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita.
- October 11, 2019
This is the eighth of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita. For more information, please visit www.breederscup.com.