Shug McGaughey reports Honor Code is fine the day after his 10-length loss to Social Inclusion.
Racing for the first time since beating Cairo Prince by a nose in the Remsen on Nov. 30, Honor Code was asked for run by jockey Javier Castellano after a half-mile to get into contention but never challenged the winner.
“He seemed to come back fine,” McGaughey said. “He ate up good last night and this morning and walked good. Everything looks fine. That’s what you hope to see. I just think we caught a very good horse on a race track that he loved.”
McGaughey said he will continue to monitor Honor Code before deciding on the next start, but both the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial remain under consideration. Honor Code had his seasonal debut delayed by minor bruising in his rear ankles, which prompted McGaughey to move the horse from Payson Park to Gulfstream in late January.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t win, but I’m not disappointed in the effort,” he said. “I want to just see how he comes out of it and then I’ll make up my mind exactly what we’re going to do.”
Rosario to General a Rod
Joel Rosario, who rode General a Rod to a victory in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1, will be back aboard the Roman Ruler colt in his next start.
Trainer Mike Maker confirmed on Friday that Rosario will ride General a Rod in the Besilu Stables Florida Derby.
Rosario is third with $2,265,054 in purse earnings and fourth with 46 wins from 309 mounts at the current meet, including a victory aboard Lea in the $500,000 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9. In addition to Rosario, General a Rod has been ridden by Rosie Napravnik, Robby Albarado and Javier Castellano.
“He’s not a complicated horse to ride, and Joel has won on him before, so we’re happy to have him,” Maker said. “We’ve had a lot of success together in the past, and I hope it continues. He’s a top-class rider, and I’m glad we’ve got him.”
Castellano rode General a Rod to a runner-up finish behind Wildcat Red in the Fountain of Youth, but he's the regular rider of both Constitution, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt who is headed to the Florida Derby, as well as Honor Code.
Maker said General a Rod will breeze again on Saturday morning at Gulfstream with regular exercise rider Joel Barrientos aboard.
“The horse is doing great, and he looks fabulous,” Maker said.
Spot Works Four
Spot, the upset winner of the Swale Stakes, posted a half-mile move in :47.75 Thursday morning at Palm Meadows and remains a possible candidate for the Florida Derby.
"He actually went a little too fast for me," trainer Nick Zito said. "But he did it on his own, and he worked with Grand Arrival, who at one time was a horse with a lot of potential. The horse is doing great. I'll speak to Mr. Moss and we will make a decision after his next work, which will be on March 22.
"The Florida Derby is going to be a tough race, no question about it," Zito added. "You've got the Holy Bull winner, the Fountain of Youth winner and the Pletcher gang. Those are real horses. One thing about us is that we never say never. If he continues training well, then it's a possibility he'll be in the entries."
Edited Gulfstream Park release