LOUISVILLE, KY – DARRS, Inc.’s Honorable Duty did a more than respectable job against a field of six foes, dispatching them all with ease to capture Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Lukas Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from the far outside didn’t deter jockey Corey Lanerie from going straight to the lead as Honorable Duty set moderate fractions of :24.29, :48.96, 1:13.51, and 1:37.63. Flashy Jewel and the rest of the field kept close through the first 6 furlongs, but at the top of the stretch, the Brendan Walsh trainee drew away with gusto, hitting the wire first in a final time of 1:49.42 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“As Brendan told me after the race, ‘That was just a steering job,’” Lanerie said. “I can’t say enough how much of a great job the team did. The toughest part today was just getting him to the gate. The plan originally was to sit off of Flashy Jewel, because he always shows speed. We caught a flier out of the gate, so we just went for it from there. He sat the entire way with his ears up and very comfortable. Even when the horses got to me around the turn, he still had his ears up and moved very easily.”
Money Flows crossed 4 3/4 lengths behind in second, keeping a head in front of Seeking the Soul. Fear the Cowboy, Eagle, Albano, and Flashy Jewel completed the order of finish.
The win improved Honorable Duty’s record to 15-7-4-1 with career earnings of 795,796. The 5-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor was able to find the winner’s circle at Churchill for the first time this year after finishing second in both the Grade 2 Alysheba and the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap.
“We had a pretty tough spring campaign with him, so after the Stephen Foster, we gave him some time off to focus on the fall campaign,” Walsh said. “I’m not entirely sure what we’ll do quite yet for the remainder of the year, but our original plan was the (Grade 2) $200,000 Fayette (at Keeneland), then the (Grade 1) $500,000 Clark Handicap (at Churchill Downs).”
Honorable Duty returned $3.20 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Money Flows brought back $7.80 to place and $5.20 to show, while Seeking the Soul paid $4.40 to show.