ELMONT, NY – W. S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor returned to the track impressively, exploding in the stretch to draw away easily and win Saturday’s $250,000 Dwyer Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park.
Breaking from post 3 under John Velazquez as the even-money favorite, Code of Honor took back and watched as Majid led through opening fractions of :23.83, :47.95, and 1:12.34. Heading into the far turn, Velazquez tipped out to go after the leaders, but Mihos had the same thing in mind and blocked his outside path. Velazquez quickly audibled and steered Code of Honor back inside to avoid running too wide.
Gobbling up ground from between Mihos and Rowayton, Code of Honor straightened for home full of run and chased just behind Final Jeopardy as he drove to the front. Though Final Jeopardy secured command near the final furlong marker, Code of Honor quickly rushed up to take it away.
Despite Velazquez dropping his whip as he made the lead, Code of Honor proved that he didn’t need it. Under a hand ride, the Shug McGaughey trainee drew off before winning by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:35.81 for the mile-long event over the fast main track.
“He ran as we expected,” Velazquez said. “I was behind the horse I expected to be. I went to go to the outside, and (Mihos) went to the outside, so I went back to the inside and he responded right away. Today, he put it all together the way we expected out of him. Hopefully, he can continue doing that going forward.”
Final Jeopardy showed good energy to stay on for second by 1 length over Rowayton, who suffered a tough trip and had to twice alter course in the stretch run. Mihos couldn’t advance better than fourth, while Majid and the stalking Whiskey Echo weakened steadily to complete the order of finish.
Code of Honor’s win came in his first since finishing second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) two months ago and improved his overall record to 7-3-2-1. The 3-year-old son of Noble Mission, who failed to sell for his reserve price of $70,000 as a yearling, has now earned $1,215,820.
“He is a pretty classy horse,” McGaughey said. “I was just talking to Johnny. We were talking about how quiet he was in the paddock, and then when I gave Johnny a leg up, he gets on his toes, goes to the post that way, and then he breaks and he was there. I think that’s exactly the way he wants to run; to just drop back out of it a bit and, depending on the pace, making one run like that. I thought he was a pretty easy winner today. Hopefully, we have a horse to come back with and we’ll see what happens down the road.”
Code of Honor returned $4.30 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.20 to show. Final Jeopardy brought back $5.70 to place and $3.20 to show, while Rowayton paid $2.60 to show.