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Racing Dudes Three Stars of the Week: New Derby Threat Emerges
Honor A. P. after winning the Santa Anita Derby (Credit: Benoit Photo)

Racing Dudes Three Stars of the Week: New Derby Threat Emerges

The top-notch horses were back in full force this past weekend, giving thrilling performances from coast to coast. It was quite difficult narrowing down the best ones, but here’s who made our final cut for the Three Stars of the Week:

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1. Honor A. P.

The hype that’s surrounded this horse for almost a year finally came to fruition on Saturday when the beautiful, long-striding colt powered past the undefeated Authentic to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Though Authentic went off as the betting favorite, Honor A. P. sat in a clean tracking position that allowed him time to settle and keep his rivals in check. He built up steam through the far turn and unleashed it at the top of the stretch, and the race was over from there. With legendary horseman John Shirreffs and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in his corner, he should only continue to improve over the next three months.

2. Code of Honor

One of the most consistent and talented runners in last year’s 3-year-old crop, Code of Honor made his long-awaited 2020 debut stylishly in Saturday’s Westchester Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. John Velazquez kept him in the clear early, avoiding as much kickback from the muddy track as he could. Sent wide through the far turn, Code of Honor had to dig in at the top of the stretch to chase after Endorsed, who was beginning to pull away. Showing no signs of rust, Code of Honor kicked his way past Endorsed under his own power and was confidently hand-ridden to victory. He looks like a serious contender in the older dirt male division.

3. Volatile

When sharp minds immediately compare a horse to the lights-out Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion Mitole, you have to pay attention. That is exactly what happened after (or even while) Volatile put on a scintilatting performance in the Aristides Stakes at Churchill Downs. His win was not surprising (bettors made him the 1/2 favorite), but how he did it was nothing short of spectacular. After distancing himself from the field at the top of the stretch, he turned on the jets and crossed just 0.02 seconds off of the track record – while running on the wrong lead and occasionally looking around for someone to challenge him. Just as we saw Steve Asmussen and Ricardo Santana, Jr., do last year with Mitole, expect Volatile to be a top contender in every race this season.

Credit: Coady Photography

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