By Dick Downey
Updated 6:47 p.m. ET. Typo re: old track record corrected; quotes added
In his second career start, Social Inclusion blasted through a 1 1/16-mile allowance race Wednesday at Gulfstream Park in 1:40.97, setting a new track record.
Honor Code finished a distant second, beaten 10 lengths. We're All Set was another 17 3/4 lengths back in third. Honor Code was the 1-2 favorite; Social Inclusion was sent off at 7-5. Only five ran.
Honor Code's connections opted for him to make his 2014 debut in this race, ditching an announced plan to ship to Oaklawn Park for Saturday's Rebel Stakes.
A son of Pioneerof the Nile, Social Inclusion won his debut at the track on Feb. 22 by a resounding 7 1/2-lengths going six furlongs timed in 1:09.35 under Luis Contreras. First at each call, he increased his advantage on the turn and continued to drew off under urging. He did much the same in today's race.
Social Inclusion is trained by Manny Azpura and is owned by Rontos Racing Stable Corp. He's a $60,000 graduate of the Keeneland September 2012 Yearling Sale. He was bred in Kentucky by Robert Tillyer, Martin Keogh and Dr. Chet Blackey and is out of the Saint Ballado mare Saint Bernadette.
The old track record isn't very old. Devil's Cave ran 1:41.00 on Feb. 16 of this year in the Grade II Sabin Stakes.
Fractions -- :23.20, :47.52, 1:10.70, 1:34.68
Manny Azpura: Declined to name a next start. “I really like this horse and I like everything he’s done since I’ve got him. I’m so pleased with him and I believe he’s going to keep improving. I told my wife before the race, ‘You’re going to see him break out of the gate and they’re never going to catch him. They’ll be 10 lengths behind.’”
Luis Contreras, aboard Social Inclusion: “He was doing it so easy. I wasn’t doing anything. He’s a tremendous horse.
Ron Sanchez (Rontos Racing Stable Corp.): “From the first time we trained him, we knew he was something special. The next step, we’re going to wait and see how he comes out of the race. We’ll take our time. We’ll wait until next week and decide, but we definitely want to go to the (Kentucky) Derby.”
Shug McGaughey, trainer of Honor Code: “I knew how the race was going to set up. He had speed and he had two 35's since he ran, so I knew he would go. The track was really fast this morning, and horses ran 1:08-and-change earlier in the day. I’m disappointed he didn’t win, but we got a race into him, and I don’t think (the jockey) killed him by any means. We’ll see if he goes forward off of this. I think the horse that won in a very, very special horse.”
Javier Castellano, aboard Honor Code: “The track had been playing pretty fast. It's hard to catch up to the horses that go out on the lead. With a small field, sometimes it's hard with my horse's style he likes to come from behind. I had to use him a little bit to be tactical and he responded. I'm very fortunate with the way he did it today. It was a good performance. Unfortunately we got beat. But I like to look at the big picture – his season is just starting and I'm pleased with the way he came back."