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With the Kentucky Derby (G1) finally nearing, we continue analyzing the pedigrees of some of the top contenders.
This week’s subject: Honor A. P.
The lightly-raced 3-year-old has a career record of 4-2-2-0 and has been considered one of the top horses in this class since breaking his maiden at Santa Anita Park last August. He will very likely add another W to his resume in Saturday’s Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar.
Honor A. P. is currently third in the Kentucky Derby point standings, behind Tiz the Law and Authentic, with 120 points that he earned for finishing second in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) and winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1). His pedigree has not yet been seen on the Kentucky Derby trail, so let’s take a closer look at how he fits.
Major career wins: 2013 Remsen (G2), 2015 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2), 2015 Met Mile (G1), 2015 Whitney (G1)
Honor Code beat multiple Grade 1 winners Private Zone, Tonalist, Bayern, and Liam’s Map in an 11-race career that saw him earn 6 wins, 2 seconds, and 2 thirds. He was considered a top 3-year-old in 2014, to the point that he was the closing favorite in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pools 1 and 2. Unfortunately, he missed the entire Triple Crown trail and was sidelined until November of 2014, but many remember Honor Code for winning the 2015 Met Mile (G1) victory and getting the photo over Liam’s Map in the Whitney Stakes (G1), a race where Honor Code was more than 19 lengths back after the first 1/2-mile.
Honor Code has been equally as successful as a stallion, managing 14 winners from 45 runners with his freshman crop in 2019. Those numbers improved to 22 of 65 in 2020, which includes Honor A. P. providing his sire’s first Grade 1 win.
Honor Code was sired by the great A.P. Indy (himself sired by Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew), and his dam Weekend Surprise was sired by Triple Crown winner Secretariat. Honor Code was third in his lone 1 1/4-mile attempt (behind the Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Classic [G1]), but his bloodlines show that the distance should not be an issue.
Major career wins: 2003 Hollywood Starlet Stakes (G1), 2004 Bayakoa Handicap (G2), 2005 Hawthorne Handicap (G3), 2006 Vanity Invitational Handicap (G1)
Hollywood Story ended her career with a record of 27-4-6-6, all but 1 against graded stakes foes (including 16 Grade 1s). She won a Grade 1 race at two different ages (2 and 6) and at two different distances (1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles). All told, the consistent mare earned over $1.1 million.
As a broodmare, Hollywood Story has had eight starters from ten foals, with seven of those eight finding the winner’s circle. While none have been as successful as Honor A. P., the rest of the family has fared okay.
Miss Hollywood won the 2016 Monroe Stakes (a 7-furlong dirt sprint) and Hollywood Star was second in the 2017 Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Iroquois Stakes (G3), and her first foal, Hoorayforhollywood, was twice stakes placed before becoming a California stallion. His most notable runner from three crops is the 2019 Fleet Treat Stakes champion and Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) runner-up Hollywood Hills.
Overall, Honor A. P. is a serious Kentucky Derby contender. Both his sire and dam excelled going long on dirt and won Grade 1 routes. Honor A.P. is already a Grade 1 winner as well, but more importatnly, he has looked better in each start. If he wins the Shared Belief, there will be no doubting that he is the west coast’s best 3-year-old colt.
Let me know what you think!
Vinny Blond is a New York-based handicapper who is one half of Real Dynasty Picks. Follow him on Twitter @PicksByDynasty.
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