Honor Code lost the battle but may still win the war
by Laura Pugh
Appealing Tale stole the thunder in the Kelso when he beat heavily favored Honor Code.
Honor Code came into the Kelso off of two Grade 1 wins in the Met Mile and Whitney Handicap. Both races had a strong pace for him to close into, but that did not happen today. Appealing Tale was able to take the lead not long after the break and allowed to coast along, uncontested, sealing Honor Code’s fate.
Honor Code was kept closer to the pace, but was stuck down on a heavy rail. Javier Castellano looked to ride that rail to victory, but there was no room and his horse was making no headway. It was then he moved Honor Code outside, but by that time it was too late. Appealing Tale had run away with the lead and put enough distance between himself and Honor Code that the latter’s strong late rally was in vain.
What does this mean? Does it mean that Honor Code isn’t a legitimate horse? Does it mean that he has absolutely no chance in the Breeders Cup Classic, his likely next start? Absolutely not.
Ladies and gentleman, this was merely a prep race for Honor Code. I’m sure the connections would have loved a win, but this race was never the ultimate goal. The goal is the Breeders’ Cup Classic and this race will have set Honor Code up very well. He didn’t over exert or over extend, he got exactly what he needed.
Today he didn’t get the pace scenario that he has received in his last two races, but make no mistake, he will get it in the Classic. The Classic is almost always a fast paced race, won more often than not by a horse running from off the pace. That statement is supported by the fact that seven of the last 10 runnings have been won by horses that came from off the pace. The three that were won by horses on or pressing the pace all came at Santa Anita, which hosted the last three runnings.
Appealing Tale ran a top quality race. He showed you give him an uncontested lead at your own peril. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run back in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile. But please, let us not be fooled into believing that this race “exposed” Honor Code. He is still a quality horse, and he is still on track for a strong assault on the Breeder’s Cup Classic.