Greatest Honour appeared to be in deep waters midway on the far turn of Saturday’s $300,000 Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, but the three-year-old found his best stride while straightening for home and closed fast to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths.
The Tapit colt confirmed himself as a major contender for the Kentucky Derby. A 5 3/4-length scorer in the Jan. 30 Holy Bull S. (G3), Greatest Honour has now won three straight for owner/breeder Courtlandt Farms (Donald and Donna Adam) and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Shug McGaughey.
Drain the Clock flashed forward at the start to show the way on a clear lead, establishing splits in :23.66, :47.18, and 1:11.51 as Greatest Honour rated well off the pace in eighth down the backstretch.
Greatest Honour was caught behind rivals entering the far turn, and the bay colt appeared to be idling while still about eight lengths back with nearly a half-mile remaining.
Jose Ortiz tipped his mount out approaching the conclusion of the far turn, and Greatest Honour began accelerating while spinning extremely wide into the short stretch at the 1 1/16-mile distance. He came flying through the final sixteenth of a mile to get up late and draw clear, stopping the teletimer in 1:44.02.
“He was a little farther back that I thought he would be going down the backside,” McGaughey said. “A lot of dirt was hitting him. They weren’t going overly fast. Going three-quarters in 1:11 and change over this track is not fast. When Jose got him in the clear it was over.”
“He’s such a big horse with such a big stride,” Ortiz added. “At the three-eighths (pole). I’m trying to get him going and I got a space on the inside, but I didn’t what to stop him again. I decided to go wide and when he hit the clear, boom!”
Greatest Honour was favored at even-money among 10 runners, and the Fountain of Youth awarded 85 points (50-20-10-5 scale) as a Road to the Kentucky Derby series qualifier.
Drain the Clock proved no match for the oncoming winner, but the 5-2 second choice still performed well in his two-turn debut. He was two lengths clear of late-running Papetu, and it was another 1 3/4 lengths to Tarrantino in fourth.
Jirafales, King’s Ovation, Prime Factor, Fire At Will, Tiz Tact Toe, and Sososubtle completed the order of finish.
Greatest Honour needed four starts to break his maiden, recording a pair of thirds and a second before graduating at Gulfstream in late December. The Kentucky-bred hails from a regal female family. He’s out of the Street Cry mare Tiffany’s Honour, a half-sister to 2007 champion three-year-old filly and Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Rags to Riches; and Belmont Stakes victor Jazil.
McGaughey indicated the $800,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream on March 27 is likely next for Greatest Honour.