May 29, 2023

Code of Honor tops field of six in Mucho Macho Man

Code of Honor (Coglianese Photography)

Untimely setbacks forced Code of Honor to miss both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Remsen (G2) last fall, but the Shug McGaughey-trained Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect will look to be back in action Saturday in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park.

One of six three-year-olds in the one-mile test, Code of Honor won on debut at Saratoga for owner-breeder Will Farish last August and then rallied from a 10-length deficit to finish second in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park, three lengths behind Complexity, after stumbling at the start.

Scratched the morning of the Breeders’ Cup due to a temperature, Code of Honor missed an intended start in the Remsen after a reported lackadaisical work.

While not a Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep, the Mucho Macho Man could be a useful stepping stone for Gulfstream’s bigger preps: the Holy Bull (G2), Fountain of Youth (G2), and Florida Derby (G1).

Among those lining up against Code of Honor is Trophy Chaser, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream by more than 15 lengths last August before finishing fifth in the Champagne and second to Improbable in the $100,000 Street Sense at Churchill Downs.

Well Defined captured the In Reality division of the Florida Sires Stakes last September prior to finishing 12th of 13 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Garter and Tie won or placed in all three of the Florida Sire Stakes divisions and his juvenile campaign with a neck victory in the $75,000 Smooth Air over six furlongs.

Completing the short field are Gladiator King, three-length winner of the $62,000 Inaugural at Tampa Bay Downs on December 15, and last-out Aqueduct graduate Mihos.

The $100,000 Kitten’s Joy and $100,000 Ginger Brew for fillies are the other two unrestricted three-year-old stakes at Gulfstream on Saturday. Both will be run over 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Henley’s Joy, who captured the $390,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile and $75,000 Pulpit last season, figures to be a solid favorite in the Kitten’s Joy. The Ginger Brew features Pivottina, fourth in the Natalma (G1) and third in the Jimmy Durante (G3) in two U.S. appearances; $75,000 Wait a While runner-up Fortunate Girl; and Churchill allowance winner Boxwood.