by NYRA Press Office
W.S. Farish's Code of Honor finished a game second in the 145th running of the Grade 1, $3 million Kentucky Derby over a sloppy and sealed Churchill Downs main track.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Code of Honor saved ground in tenth as Maximum Security blazed a half-mile in 46.62 seconds.
Code of Honor advanced along the rail through the final turn to take the lead with a quarter-mile to run, was bumped briefly by Maximum Security, and stayed on strong to the wire to finish third behind the resurgent Maximum Security and late-closing Country House.
Maximum Security crossed the wire first but was disqualified and placed 17th by the stewards for interference at the five-sixteenths marker, deemed to have impeded War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.
The disqualification moved Code of Honor to second, with Tacitus, winner of the Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by NYRA Bets, elevated to third.
Velazquez, who won the Derby with Animal Kingdom  and Always Dreaming , said Code of Honor shied away as the field turned for home.
"When the seam opened up for me, he didn't take the position there. He kind of reacted to the horse [Maximum Security] spooking and he reacted the same way," said Velazquez. "When the horse [Maximum Security] came back again, he shied away from the horse but then he started finishing again.
"He was a little uneven down the stretch," continued Velazquez. "If he had just picked it up when the hole opened up then he would have been fine, and I think he would have won."
Velazquez said he felt confident Code of Honor could handle the mile and a quarter distance.
"The distance wasn't the problem. The problem was whatever distracted him, and he lost momentum in what he was doing," said Velazquez. "If distance was the problem, he wouldn't have tried to come back and win the race again afterwards. The problem was keeping his mind focused on what he has to do."
McGaughey said that the Noble Mission chestnut, a debut winner at Saratoga in August ahead of a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, came out of the Derby in good order.
"He came back fine. We thought he ran a good race and he'll be headed back to New York in about an hour," said McGaughey over the phone from Kentucky on Sunday morning.
The veteran conditioner, who captured the Derby in 2013 with Orb, said he was pleased with Code of Honor's valiant effort.
"He cut the corner and made a very good move. There was a lot of activity going on and that horse [Maximum Security] came back over after he was bearing out and sort of intimidated him a little bit and took his run away from him," said McGaughey. "But once they got clear again, he tried running on and we thought he ran very well. I thought he had a perfect trip, we just weren't the best."
A decision regarding a start in the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1, $1.5 million Preakness, slated for May 18 at Pimlico, will be made once the colt arrives home at Belmont Park.
McGaughey said that Code of Honor will not be in consideration for the 151st running of the Belmont, third leg of the Triple Crown, on June 8 and instead could turn back in distance for the one-mile Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer slated for July 6 at Belmont, part of the Stars and Stripes Racing Festival.
"It's a slim possibility, but it's not out of the question," said McGaughey of a start in the Preakness. "He's not going to run in the Belmont. I'd like for him to have a good summer campaign, maybe the Dwyer; maybe at Saratoga. We'll have to see."
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Turf Tiara under consideration for Concrete Rose
Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing's Concrete Rose stamped herself a major contender for the inaugural Turf Tiara, after capturing the Grade 3 Edgewood on Kentucky Oaks day at Churchill Downs, providing Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Newspaperofrecord her first career loss.
Sent to post at odds of nearly 6-1 in the 1 1/16-mile test over a Churchill turf course rated good, Concrete Rose stalked from fourth position as Newspaperofrecord, the prohibitive 1-5 favorite, sped through a half-mile in 47.87 seconds. Julien Leparoux asked Concrete Rose to make her move late in the turn, took dead aim at the leader at the eighth pole and drew off to win by 3 ¾-lengths.
Concrete Rose arrived at the Edgewood from a half-length score on March 9 in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, while Newspaperofrecord was making her seasonal debut following her November 2 Breeders' Cup win.
Trainer Rusty Arnold said his filly trained well into the race, but he was cautiously optimistic about her chances against the Chad Brown-trained Newspaperofrecord.
"Did I think she would beat Newspaperofrecord? I don't know. She [Newspaperofrecord] had not come out this year and run yet and we didn't know what she was going to do. Our filly had trained well so you're hoping for that [to win]," said Arnold. "I have nothing but respect for Newspaperofrecord. She was the best 2-year-old filly in the country last year on the turf. She had never been challenged and won all her races very easily. Chad's horses are very hard to beat, but our filly had trained good and she had only been beat one time."
The 3-year-old fillies start their path on the Turf Tiara with the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational, at 1 1/4-miles on the Belmont turf on July 6.
Arnold said the first jewel of the Turf Tiara is a strong possibility for Concrete Rose.
"It will be considered," said Arnold. "We haven't sat down to talk with the owners yet about our next move. We'll get her back to the racetrack this week and see how she came out of it, but when they have a 3-year-old filly race that's $750,000, it's obviously going to be under consideration."
The Turf Tiara continues August 2 with the inaugural $750,000 Saratoga Oaks, held at 1 3/16-miles. The final jewel of the Turf Tiara, the first-ever $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks slated for September 7 at Belmont, will be contested at 1 3/8-miles on the turf, and will air live on NBC as part of an action-packed weekend of racing to raise the curtain on the Belmont fall meet.
Arnold said a step up in trip shouldn't be an issue for the dark bay daughter of Twirling Candy.
"She's getting her distance from her dam's side. She's out of a Powerscourt dam [Solerina], and he was a mile and a half horse. I don't think the distance will be any problem," said Arnold.
Concrete Rose has won four of five starts, launching her career with a rallying score in a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint at Saratoga. She followed up with a victory in the Grade 2 Jessamine at Keeneland before a troubled eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
"She started out at Saratoga in a maiden race going five and a half, but all of her races have been two-turn races since then and she's developed into a pretty nice filly," said Arnold. "She's moved forward from her 2-year-old year to her 3-year-old year and hopefully she keeps improving."
For more information on the Turf Triple Series, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/turf-triple-se...
A day earlier at Churchill, Arnold saddled the ultra-consistent Morticia, with Jose Ortiz up, to a second-place finish, defeated just a neck, to A Little Bit Me in the grassy 5 ½-furlong Unbridled Sidney.
"She shows up. She's run 21 times and has 18 on the board. It was a tough loss. It looked like she had it won at the sixteenth pole, and she just got caught at the wire," said Arnold.
The 5-year-old Twirling Candy mare won the seven-furlong Soaring Softly by a nose over the Christophe Clement-trained millionaire Lull in 2017, and Arnold said a return trip to the Big Apple may be in the cards.
"There's the Intercontinental on June 6 [Grade 3, $200,000] that she may run in. She's won at seven-eighths at Belmont before. If not, we'll wait and run in the Caress [July 20, $200,000 over 5 ½-furlongs] at Saratoga.
"I don't think she wants two turns," added Arnold. "But I think the one-turn seven-eighths at Belmont might be her best race when she beat a filly of Chris's [Lull] that was a really good filly."
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Jose Lezcano surges up leaderboard after five-win Saturday at Belmont
Jockey Jose Lezcano rocketed up the Belmont spring/summer leaderboard with a five-win day Saturday, earning a trip to the winner's circle aboard Special Story in Race 1, Mr. Dougie Fresh in Race 6, a dead-heat victory aboard Invest in Race 8, Big Gemmy (Race 9) and capping the day with First Forever in the 12th-race finale at Belmont Park.
Lezcano upped his meet win total to nine entering Sunday, tying with Kendrick Carmouche for the leaderboard's top spot.
"You never know going in, but I liked all my horses yesterday. It felt good," Lezcano said. "I'm off to a good start and I'm getting mounts from some different [trainers] with Linda Rice, Jason Servis, Charlie Baker giving me more horses. I really appreciate all the business and I want to continue doing the same thing."
Lezcano notched the first five-win day at a NYRA track since Manny Franco went 5-for-7 at Aqueduct Racetrack on March 11. In total, Lezcano, went 5-for-8, with a second-place finish on Schwarbertown in Race 2 and a third-place effort aboard Sunny Ridge in the Grade 3 Westchester in Race 11. It marked his first five-win day on a NYRA track.
"Winning in New York is always special to any jockey, this is the top group," Lezcano said. "I like riding at Belmont. The track is good, the turf is good, and you're riding with good riders. I like to ride with the good [jockeys]."
Lezcano entered Belmont after posting 15 wins in 57 mounts during the Aqueduct spring meet, which was second only to Franco, who won 18 in 84 mounts. Lezcano was fourth during the longer Aqueduct winter meet, riding 54 winners in 242 starts.
The recently turned 34-year-old has already registered a graded stakes win this year, with Solid Wager living up to his name in the Grade 3 Toboggan on January 19 at the Big A.
"I had a good winter and I was just trying to build my business back up and keep going from there," Lezcano said. "You keep winning races, you get asked for more rides. I'm just trying to do my best."
By next week, Lezcano is due to surpass 15,000 career starts, entering the day with 2,562 winners in 14,997 mounts, generating earnings in excess of $132 million. The Chiriqui, Panama native has three career Breeders' Cup victories, with Wise Dan in the Mile in 2013, Royal Delta in the Ladies' Classic in 2011 and Maram in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2008. His best finish in a Classic was Ice Box's runner-up effort in the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
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Linda Rice scores four including Saturday feature
Trainer Linda Rice relishes the successful day that her stable had on Saturday afternoon with four victories on the program.
The 2011 Belmont spring/summer meet leading trainer started the day with a narrow loss in the second race with Schwarbertown, who got nosed out by I Saw It All, but racked up victories in four of the last five races with Invest (Race 8, $2.60), Big Gemmy (Race 9, $4.80), Nicodemus (Race 11, $18.60) and First Forever (Race 12, $7.00).
Three of Rice's four winners were piloted by Lezcano, who also enjoyed a prosperous day with five wins.
"It was exciting," Rice said. "We started out in the second race and only got beat by a short margin with Schwarbertown. Then the day just kept getting better."
Her penultimate winner on the day was in the Grade 3 Westchester with Nicodemus, who scored his first graded stakes victory in the one-mile event over the main track. Owned by Everything's Cricket Stable and Lawrence Goichman, the son of Candy Ride entered the Westchester off of a troubled fourth-place effort in the Grade 3 Excelsior at Aqueduct last month.
"He ran well in the Excelsior," Rice said. "He didn't have a great trip that day, he only got beat 2 ¾ lengths. He got squeezed out going from the one position into the first turn. I was disappointed in, not his effort, but the race in general with the trip we got. He came back and trained really well. My gut feeling is that he's a one-turn horse whether it be a one-turn mile or seven-eighths. I think he appreciates the one turn."
Rice stated that she would consider the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap on June 8 for Nicodemus.
"We'll weigh out our options," Rice said. "We know that it would be a big step up in competition but frankly, he's got a good prep. He's good at a one-turn mile so it's something we're going to look at."
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Nicodemus is out of the four-time graded stakes winning millionaire Leah's Secret.
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G1 Jaipur could be next for World of Trouble
Following an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs that pushed his earnings over $1 million, World of Trouble will likely target the Grade 1, $400,000 Jaipur Invitational on the June 8 Belmont Stakes undercard, according to owner Michael Dubb.
"The Jaipur is our plan and then maybe we'll go back to dirt in the Vanderbilt [Grade 1, $350,000 on July 27 at Saratoga], or we may just wait for the Vanderbilt," said Dubb. "But, I think we'd like to go for the Grade 1 on turf to match the Grade 1 on dirt."
World of Trouble is already a Grade 1 winner on the main track after taking the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 6, and Dubb said he credits trainer Jason Servis for the colt's consistent performances.
"What people don't see and understand is the credit that is deserved to Jason," Dubb said. "A lot of people get a horse like World of Trouble and throw it to the wolves and right into the high-quality races. Jason isn't afraid to run in a state-bred race at Tampa. He'll take the easier races and get the horse used to winning and as Woody Stephens used to say, leave soap on the bar so he has fresh horses."
A 4-year-old Florida-bred son of Kantharos, World of Trouble has won eight of his 12 career starts, seven of which were against stakes company.
Dubb acknowledged that World of Trouble's stud value would increase should he become a Grade 1 winner on both surfaces.
"We've had interest from Kentucky and we've had interest from Florida," Dubb said. "And I would be remiss if I said that New York wasn't still on my mind."
Bred in Florida by Darsan, World of Trouble is out of the Valid Expecations broodmare Meets Expectations who is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winning turf sprinter Bucchero. World of Trouble is owned by Dubb in partnership with Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables.
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Next start for Delta Prince, Holy Helena up in the air
Stronach Stables' Delta Prince returned to the work tab for the first time since winning his first Grade 1 in the Makers 46 Mile last month at Keeneland when he posted a half-mile breeze in 50.24 seconds over the Belmont Park training track on Friday morning.
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens was unsure as to where the royally-bred son of Street Cry would make his next start, but mentioned the Grade 1 $500,000 Shoemaker Mile on May 27 at Santa Anita as a possibility.
"It was a good work, we didn't want to do too much with him," Jerkens said. "I still don't know what we're going to do with him. The Shoemaker Mile was brought up, but we'll probably point toward the [Grade 1, $500,000] Fourstardave [on August 10 at Saratoga]."
Delta Prince was second in the 2018 Fourstardave, finishing a neck behind Voodoo Song.
Never worse than fourth in 13 career starts, Delta Prince has acquired $1,173,819 in lifetime earnings. Prior to his win in the Makers 46 Mile, he was third behind Bricks and Mortar in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf on January 26 at Gulfstream Park. He also captured last year's Grade 2 King Edward at Woodbine.
Holy Helena was scratched as the morning-line favorite for Saturday's Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay due to a soft turf course.
Jerkens said the Grade 3, $150,000 Gallorette on May 17 at Pimlico is a possibility for Holy Helena's next start.
"I thought the turf was too soft for her and it's a long way to go to run on something like that," Jerkens said. "We're nominated to the Gallorette and we might go back to Canada with her at some point."
Bred in Ontario, Holy Helena was the winner of the Woodbine Oaks and Canada's crown jewel - the Queen's Plate - two years back. She shipped to Woodbine last year for the Grade 3 Dance Smartly where she third, defeated 3 ¾ lengths by Santa Monica. A three-time graded stakes winning daughter of Ghostzapper, Holy Helena has banked $1,175,578 in career earnings.
Centennial Farms' stakes winner Mihos, who has not raced since finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on February 2 at Gulfstream Park is expected to return to the work tab soon.
Jerkens said the two-time winning son of Cairo Prince is training forwardly.
"He had a little setback," Jerkens said. "He's on his way back and he's getting pretty close to his first breeze. He'll be back on the work tab soon."
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Belmont Park Man o' War Festival stakes probables
Saturday, May 11: The Grade 1, $700,000 Man o' War
Probable: Admission Office (Brian Lynch); Call Provision (Chad Brown); Focus Group (Brown); Highland Sky (Barclay Tagg); Hunting Horn (Aidan O'Brien); Magic Wand (O'Brien); Zulu Alpha (Mike Maker)
Possible: Arklow (Brad Cox); March to the Arch (Mark Casse)
Saturday, May 11: The Grade 3, $300,000 Peter Pan
Probable: Final Jeopardy (Jason Servis); Global Campaign (Stanley Hough); Intrepid Heart (Todd Pletcher); Sir Winston (Casse)
Possible: Bourbon War (Mark Hennig); Joevia (Gregory Sacco)
Saturday, May 11: The Grade 3, $200,000 Beaugay
Probable: Andina Del Sur (Tom Albertrani); Binti Al Nar (Peter Schiergen); Competitionofideas (Brown); Matty's Magnum (David Donk)
Possible: Homerique (Brown); Mitchell Road (Bill Mott)
Saturday, May 11: The Grade 3, $200,000 Vagrancy
Probable: Dawn the Destroyer (Kiaran McLaughlin); Heavenhasmynikki (Anthony Quartarolo); Holiday Disguise (Linda Rice); Pacific Gale (John Kimmel); Separationofpowers (Brown)
Possible: Yorkiepoo Princess (Edward Barker)
Saturday, May 11: The $150,000 Runhappy
Probable: Always Sunshine (Edward Allard); Firenze Fire (Jason Servis); Killybegs Captain (John Terranova); Recruiting Ready (Hough); Skyler's Scramjet (Michelle Nevin)
NYRA Press Office