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OCEANPORT, NJ – W. S. Farish homebred Code of Honor returned off the bench after 7 months away to win Saturday’s $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park.
Paco Lopez was aboard the winning even-money favorite for trainer Shug McGaughey. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route was 1:42.38.
2 1/2 lengths behind him, West Will Power necked out Phat Man for third. Brice, Croatian, I’m a G Six, and Magic Michael completed the order of finish.
“He broke really sharp,” Lopez said. “I didn’t have to use him to get early position. He was very comfortable. Sometimes with horses off a layoff, they want to go, so I actually had to take a little hold of him early. I let him settle into a good spot, then I was able to slip outside in the middle of the backstretch. Once he was clear and on the outside, I felt good. He’s a very nice horse. He was strong. You could not tell he was off as long as he was. He was very comfortable the whole time. I was waiting a little bit in the stretch for the Phat Man to make a run at us, but my horse was just too good.”
The 5-year-old Noble Mission horse’s record improved to 17-7-4-2 with $2,881,320 earned. McGaughey hinted that his next start could come in the 1 1/4-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park in early October. Code of Honor won the race in 2019 as a 3-year-old.
“We got (a start) in him and we got a win, and hopefully we can go on to some other things down the road,” McGaughey said. “We’ll see how he comes out of it, but I think it sets us up pretty good. I’d like to think about a race at Belmont the first part of October.”
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