OCEANPORT, NJ – Whatever plans Coach Shug McGaughey decides to adopt with Code of Honor, he now has the perfect setup race behind him to work on.
Code of Honor, the 2019 Kentucky Derby finalist and Travers Stakes winner, easily got rid of the cobwebs of a seven-month layoff, to claim a two-and-a-half length victory on Saturday in Year 3 , $ 250,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, the multiple Grade 1 winner simply outclassed his six rivals despite being inactive from a fifth place finish at the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup on January 23 at Gulfstream Park.
âI thought he was running well. I was happy, very happy, âsaid McGaughey. âPaco Lopez let it break and run away from there. He knows this race track and he made it lie down a little closer than it usually is and made his move early enough to try to move forward and get it over with. . He had a very good race on him.
Lopez, well on his way to an eighth riding title at Monmouth Park, managed to secure the 5-year-old son raised in Kentucky Noble Mission in a spot along the rail off the early favorites I’m a G Six, West Will Power and Brice. After an opening quarter in: 24.42, with the halftime in: 47.59, Lopez slipped Code of Honor away to give him a clear run.
It took off after the leaders passed all six stages in 1: 10.77 and rolled three wide out of the corner, pulling away easily. West Will Power finished second, a neck ahead of Phat Man.
The winning time for the mile and one-sixteenth was 1: 42.38.
âHe broke really hard,â Lopez said. âI didn’t have to use it to get an early position. He was very comfortable. Sometimes with licensed horses they want to leave, so I had to grab it a little earlier. I let him settle in a good spot, then I was able to slip out in the middle of the backstretch.
âOnce it was clear and on the outside, I felt good. He is a very beautiful horse. He was strong. You couldn’t tell he was gone as long as he was. He was very comfortable all the time. I waited a little bit for the Phat Man to attack us, but my horse was just too good.
Local breed Will S. Farish paid $ 4.00 to win.
The victory improved Code of Honor’s overall line to 7-4-2 on 17 career starts and increased his career earnings to $ 2,881,320. Six of those victories came in high-stakes society.
âIt’s the first time he’s run in a long time,â said McGaughey. âWith my training, I don’t try to do too much. I think he could have strayed a bit at the end. Maybe he was a little tired, I don’t know. But we had it in him and we got a win and hopefully we can move on to other things later.
âWe’ll see how he does, but I think it sets us up pretty well. I would like to think of a race in Belmont the first part of October. It will take him a little while, shipping (from Saratoga) and racing and now you have to reship. It’s not 50 degrees. it’s hot. I’ll be happy to take him back to Saratoga and watch him for a few days. We’re going to take it easy with him and go from there.
Classic Car Show & Oldies Day postponed to September 19; Wilmer Garcia joins the Monmouth Park jock colony
Due to inclement weather expected from Tropical Storm Henri, the Classic Car Show and Classic Car Day scheduled for Sunday has been postponed to Sunday, September 19, Monmouth park officials said. The show is slated to feature over 150 classic cars from noon to 3 p.m. and will feature live music from the Cameos, New Jersey’s favorite alumni group. In addition, Big Joe Henry will be broadcasting his Favorite Hits show live from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Wilmer Garcia, recently mounted at Gulfstream Park, became a late addition to the Monmouth Park jock colony, moving his tack here for the remainder of the competition. Garcia was 14e in the constituency standings at Monmouth Park a year ago with 13 wins.
His first back mount was on Saturday 10e race aboard Lucy’s Town.
Philip H. Iselin Replay
Monmouth Park Press Release
Photo: Code of Honor # 5 with Paco Lopez riding won the $ 250,000 Grade III Philip H. Iselin at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ on Saturday August 21, 2021. Ryan Denver / EQUI-PHOTO