News and STORIES
Code of Honor Wins Travers
Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday August 26, 2019
W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor won the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday.
Code of Honor broke from post 2 under jockey John Velazquez at 4/1 odds as the third choice. He stayed in the back during the beginning part of the race. Tacitus, the 2/1 favorite, and Mucho Gusto, the 3/1 second choice, were up front with Tax.
In the opening 1/4-mile, the top three posted fractions of :23.11, :47.26, and 1:11.21.
Code of Honor started to move up to the front as the field made its way into the far turn. Once the field got to the middle of the track, that’s when Code of Honor decided to straighten out for home.
As they approached the 1/8 pole, Code of Honor got alongside Mucho Gusto and Tacitus before moving past them.
Code of Honor, trained by Shug McGaughey, crossed the line three lengths ahead of the next horse. He finished with a final time of 2:01.05 in the 1 1/4-mile event over the fast main track.
Jockey John Velazquez spoke on the race and Code of Honor’s performance. It was his second Travers win after winning the race in 2005 with Flower Alley.
“I never had any doubts about distance as a problem, just him putting his mind to running,” said Velazquez. “Today, I made sure, when I got him out to the clear, he responded right away, so I was very happy for him. Obviously, we’ve been looking for this kind of performance for a long time. He’s a late foal, not really knowing what to do. He’s never really put it together until today.”
The Rest of the Field
Tacitus ran the race with blinkers for the first time, and he started with early speed but couldn’t hang on to cross first. He was 1/2-length ahead of Mucho Gusto. Endorsed pushed ahead late to finish fourth ahead of Owendale.
Highest Honors, the Curlin Stakes winner, was able to beat Tax for sixth place, and Chess Chief finished 1/2-length ahead of Laughing Fox for eighth.
Scars Are Cool, a recent maiden-breaker, Looking at Bikinis, who got tripped up after breaking from the gate, and Everfast, who was never really competing, were the last three to finish the order.
Code of Honor’s Year
The Travers was Code of Honor’s second straight win after the Dwyer Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park in July. The three-year-old son of Noble Mission also finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1) through disqualification. His overall record is now at 8-4-2-1, and his total earnings are at $1,885,820.
“It doesn’t get old, but it can’t take that long again,” said McGaughey. “He’s been a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde horse. Today, he put it all together. He trained really well. The Dwyer was a really good race, so we were hoping we were going to see what we saw.”
McGaughey won his first Travers Stakes 30 years ago with Easy Goer. He was the third trainer to win at least four of the races.
Code of Honor paid $10.80 to win, $5.20 to place, and $3.80 to show. Tacitus returned $3.70 to place, and $2.80 to show, while Mucho Gusto paid $3.80 to show.