notes – March 23
G2 Remsen winner Honor Code to miss G1 Wood Memorial, Kentucky Derby with suspensory injury
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey reported this afternoon that Grade 2 Remsen winner Honor Code will miss the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on April 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack after a slight tear of his right hind upper suspensory was detected Sunday morning.
Second in his 3-year-old debut on March 12 at Gulfstream Park, Honor Code had breezed a half-mile in 49.12 on Saturday in preparation for the 1 1/8-mile Wood.
“It will heal,” said McGaughey. “We discovered it this morning. We’ll give it 60 days and then re-evaluate it.”
A son of A.P. Indy owned by Lane’s End Racing and breeder Dell Ridge Farm, Honor Code came from last to first to break his maiden on Aug. 31 at Saratoga Race Course, then finished second to Havana in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne. He next defeated Cairo Prince by a nose in the Grade 2 Remsen on Nov. 30 at Aqueduct, and in his sophomore debut four months later was second again, 10 lengths behind Social Inclusion, who set a track record of 1:40.97 in a 1 1/16-mile allowance on March 12 at Gulfstream Park.
* Social Inclusion to breeze twice more in Florida before shipping to New York for Wood
Social Inclusion, who was credited with a four-furlong breeze in 49.34 seconds on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, will work twice more in Florida before he ships to New York for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, owner Ronald Sanchez said via telephone on Sunday.
The Wood Memorial is New York’s premier Triple Crown prep race and is worth 100 points to the winner in Churchill Downs’ “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points system.
“It was an easy gallop, three furlongs in 36 flat and galloped out four furlongs in 49 and one,” said Sanchez of Social Inclusion’s Saturday workout. “It was a maintenance breeze, and he was spectacular and full of energy. The rider told me he didn’t ask him to run.”
Sanchez said Social Inclusion is scheduled to make his next breeze on Wednesday and then again on Saturday before he ships to New York on Sunday, either by van or by plane. He’ll complete his training at Aqueduct Racetrack after he arrives in New York.
“He’ll have two more breezes,” said Sanchez. “The way (Manuel Azpurua) trains is totally different, but it works for us.”
Social Inclusion is unbeaten and untested in two starts at Gulfstream, having broken his maiden by 7½ lengths going six furlongs on Feb. 22 and successfully stretched out when he beat Honor Code by 10 lengths in an allowance on March 12. His winning time of 1:40.97 in the allowance established a Gulfstream track record for 1 1/16 miles.
Originally, Social Inclusion’s connections were planning on running in the Wood Memorial and then possibly competing in the Preakness, but now they have their sights set on the Kentucky Derby.
“We’ve changed our initial plan,” said Sanchez. “We think he’ll like (Aqueduct’s track) and get some points so we can go to the Derby.”
* Samraat sticks to routine, turns in one-mile breeze on Saturday at Palm Meadows
Three-time stakes winner Samraat continued his preparations for the Wood Memorial by breezing one mile in 1:45.15 on Saturday at Palm Meadows.
“It was just what we wanted,” said Violette by telephone. “He’ll have his next breeze on either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and then there’s a plane to New York on Tuesday.”
Samraat, who is unbeaten in five starts, went a mile in his penultimate breezes prior to his wins in Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Withers on Feb. 1 and the Grade 3 Gotham on March 1. He followed both one-mile moves with four-furlong workouts.
“It works for him, and there’s been no reason to change,” said Violette.
Samraat, a homebred owned by Leonard Riggio’s My Meadowview Farm, narrowly defeated Uncle Sigh in his past two starts, beating his New York-bred rival by one length in the Withers and by a neck in the Gotham.
Uncle Sigh is scheduled to breeze for the Wood on Tuesday, according to Gary Contessa’s assistant trainer, Marcelo Arenas.
* Clement considering Wood for Tonalist
Tonalist, second in an entry-level optional claimer on Feb. 22 at Gulfstream Park, remains under consideration for the Wood Memorial, trainer Christophe Clement said by telephone on Sunday.
“(The Wood is) one of the options,” said Clement. “We’re keeping him eligible. He’s a very nice horse, and he’s never run a bad race.”
Clement said Tonalist will breeze on Wednesday or Thursday at Payson Park before he and owner Robert Evans make their final decision on Tonalist’s next start. Clement said the other options include the Grade 3 Calder Derby, also on April 5, or an allowance race.
Tonalist was second by 3¼ lengths to Constitution, a gate-to-wire winner, in the Feb. 22 optional claimer. In his two other starts, Tonalist was fourth in his November unveiling at Aqueduct before he broke his maiden by four lengths in January at Gulfstream.
* Sweet Reason on target for Gazelle;
Gyarmati will make last-minute decision on Wood for Noble Moon
Grade 1 winner Sweet Reason remains on course for her next engagement, the Grade 2 Gazelle on Saturday April 5, after working a mile in company with Grade 2 Jerome hero Noble Moon Sunday morning over Belmont Park’s training track.
The two went out shortly after the second renovation break at 9:30 a.m., with trainer Leah Gyarmati catching them in 1:40.
“They finished up well,” said Gyarmati. “The first part was a little slow, but they both came down the lane pretty good.”
Gyarmati confirmed Sweet Reason, a half-length winner of her only start this year, remains on target for the 1 1/8-mile Gazelle, but continued to hold off on committing Noble Moon to the Wood.
“I still don’t know about (Noble Moon); we’re going to wait until the last minute,” she said of the Malibu Moon colt, who is owned by Treadway Racing Stable. “On entry day, if he’s doing good, and we want to run, he will. I want to know he’s jumping out of his skin and ready to go. I’m not going to push it. It’s not a little, easy race, it’s the Wood and it is a competitive race. We did lose a lot of time training, obviously, so if I feel we’re 190 percent fit we’ll run. If not, we’ll wait for the next spot.”