Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Honor A. P., who closed for fourth from far back in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1), has been diagnosed with an injury prompting his retirement. The son of champion Honor Code will enter stud alongside his sire at Lane’s End in 2021, with his fee to be set later.
Lane’s End made the announcement in a Monday press release. Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen reported that Honor A. P. strained his left front tendon, and trainer John Shirreffs told him that although it was “very minor,” the timetable for getting the sophomore back to the races was “too long.”
An $850,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase by C R K Stable, Honor A. P. showed promise in his debut when rallying for second in a Del Mar sprint. The flashy dark bay duly improved on a stretch-out to two turns to break his maiden at Santa Anita last fall, and the Derby trail beckoned.
Shirreffs initially targeted the Jan. 4 Sham S. (G3), but Honor A. P. missed the engagement with a setback. Reappearing in the Mar. 7 San Felipe (G2), he turned in a pleasing runner-up effort behind Authentic.
In their hotly anticipated rematch in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby, Honor A. P. took a substantial step forward to defeat Authentic by 2 3/4 lengths. That performance over 1 1/8 miles confirmed his status as a major Kentucky Derby contender.
Shirreffs decided that the Aug. 1 Shared Belief at Del Mar was his best path toward peaking on Derby Day. Although Honor A. P. was upset by front-running Thousand Words, his staying-on second appeared to serve the purpose as a 1 1/16-mile tightener.
Sent off as the 7-1 second choice behind the odds-on Tiz the Law at Churchill Downs, Honor A. P. was out of position from the start, and last of 15 with a half-mile to go. He made belated headway to check in fourth, despite covering 49 feet more than the victorious Authentic according to Trakus.
Honor A. P. returned to Southern California after his honorable effort in defeat, in expectation of regrouping. Unfortunately, hopes that he could reach his full potential with maturity were dashed by Monday’s news, and he retires with a record of 6-2-3-0, $532,200. As of this writing, Honor A. P. is the only horse to beat Authentic.
“Honor A. P. is a horse with an immense talent,” Shirreffs said in the Lane’s End release. “He was so forward and precocious that he broke his maiden second time out by over five lengths going two turns. Honor A. P. showed brilliance as a 2-year-old from the first time I saw him train and replicated it as a 3-year-old defeating the future Kentucky Derby winner. He ran a super race in the Derby and we later found that he came out of the race with an injury, so all things considered, what he accomplished was something special.”
Bred by George Krikorian in Kentucky, Honor A. P. is out of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Hollywood Story, who was herself a Shirreffs trainee. The Wild Rush mare is responsible for three other black-type performers, stakes scorer Miss Hollywood, Grade 2-placed Hollywood Star, and stakes-placed Hoorayforhollywood.
“Honor A. P. was a ‘wow’ horse from the beginning,” Lane’s End’s Bill Farish said. “He was the highest-priced yearling in Honor Code’s first crop. He was a standout 2-year-old at April Mayberry’s, and the most recognizable horse in training at Santa Anita. His stunning good looks paired with his obvious talent make him just the type of prospect we are looking for at Lane’s End.”
A paternal grandson of Hall of Famer A. P. Indy, who passed away at Lane’s End in February, Honor A. P. will now bid to extend his legacy in the breeding shed.