Honor Code – A New Star is Born and Rival to American Pharoah

Honor Code Hero1

Honor Code edges out Liam’s Map by a neck in the Whitney Handicap – Photo: NYRA

Honor Code answered any questions that I had about him yesterday with his outstanding come-from-behind win in the Whitney Handicap (video shown below). The questions marks I had about this blazingly fast horse: Although he has the pedigree for distance, we hadn’t seen him accomplish much in two-turn races this year. He hadn’t competed in a race longer than 1 1/16th mile since his 2 year-old campaign when he won the Remsen Stakes in 2013. Folks, Honor Code is THE REAL DEAL. He is a huge threat to American Pharoah’s bid of capturing horse racing’s Grand Slam (The Triple Crown and Breeders Cup Classic win). Why? Consider this:

  1. Honor Code’s Whitney Handicap winning time of 1:47.82 compared to American Pharoah’s Haskell Invitational winning time of 1:47.95 just a week apart at the same 1 1/8th mile distance. Different track but Honor Code received a better Beyer Speed figure (113) for his run than American Pharoah (109). Granted, American Pharoah coasted in on his win but Honor Code’s closer style will make him a huge threat no matter what post position he draws in the 1 1/4 mile Breeders’ Cup Classic. He drew the dreaded rail in a talent laden Whitney HC and won.
  2. Honor Code now has two of the top three Beyer Speed Figures this year: 112 in the Met Mile and 113 in yesterday’s Whitney Handicap. He is the fastest horse in North America right now.

The Breeders’ Cup Classic in October is shaping up to be a showdown of epic proportions: American Pharoah vs Honor Code. I will post my updated Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings by the end of the week but here is your future Breeders’ Cup Classic Boxed Trifecta. Palace Malice races today at Saratoga at the same 1 1/8th mile distance so that is why I am holding off on an updated rankings list.

1) American Pharoah  – He confirmed his #1 ranking with his performance in the Haskell Invitational with a sizzling 109 Beyer Speed Figure. He now has reeled off eight straight wins. He currently is ranked #2 in Longines World’s Best Racehorse rankings and ranked #1 in the most recent NTRA’s Top Thoroughbred poll. His next start after the Haskell has not been confirmed but expected to be the Travers Stakes August 29th.

Career: 9 Starts 8-0-0-0, Win Pct: 88.9%, Top 3 Pct: 88.9%, Top 4 Pct: 88.9%
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.95 – 8/2/15 (2015 Haskell Invitational)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:03.02 – 5/2/15 (2015 Kentucky Derby)
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2015 Kentucky Derby

2) Honor Code – The Met-Mile winner with a blazing 112 Beyer Speed Figure. He produced another 113 Beyer Speed Figure in the Whitney Handicap. This makes his 5th place finish in the Alysheba Stakes puzzling. He has a nice pedigree, the son of A.P. Indy and the grandson of Seattle Slew. He has yet to race longer than 1 1/8th mile and that is why I can’t rank him ahead of American Pharoah despite his impressive speed figures. But I am not concerned as I think he will fare even better in a 1 1/4 mile race–he is bred for distance. His next start could be the Jockey Gold Cup race October 3rd at Belmont Park.

Career: 9 Starts 6-2-0-0, Win Pct: 66.7%, Top 3 Pct: 88.9%, Top 4 Pct: 88.9%
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:47.82 – 8/8/15 (2015 Whitney Handicap)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: N/A

3) Tonalist  – Last year’s Belmont Stakes and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner. For 2015, he has one win in the Westchester Stakes, two 2nd places finishes (Met Mile and Suburban Handicap) and a 3rd place finish (Whitney Handicap). His third place finish in the Whitney Handicap produced a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. He produced a 108 Beyer in the Suburban Handicap and a 111 Beyer in the Met Mile. He finished 5th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year.

Career: 13 Starts 5-4-2-1, Win Pct: 38.5%, Top 3 Pct: 84.6%, Top 4 Pct: 92.3%
Fastest 1 1/8 Mile Time: 1:48.1 (calculated) – 8/8/15 (2015 Whitney Handicap)
Fastest 1 1/4 Mile Time: 2:00.69 (calculated)- 11/1/14 (2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic)
Best Finish in a 1 1/4 Mile Grade 1 Stakes Race: 1st – 2014 Jockey Club Gold Cup

The remaining “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Classic Races:

Aug. 22nd – The TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000 – TVG
Sept. 26th – The Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $250,000 – TVG
Oct. 3rd – Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational at Belmont – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000 – NBC

Other Notable Classic Division Races:

Aug. 29th – The Travers Stakes at Saratoga – 1 1/4 Mile – Purse: $1,000,000 – NBC
Sept. 5th – The Woodward Stakes at Saratoga – 1 1/8 Mile – Purse: $600,000 –  NBCSN