VA-connected Honor Code Wins GII, VA-bred Valid Third

It was another big week for Virginia-connected horses last week. Honor Code, part-owned by Virginia Racing Commission chairman Sarge Reynolds, ran a huge race to win the Grade II Gulfstream Park Handicap by half a length.

Honor Code winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Photo courtesy Kenny Martin.

Honor Code winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Photo courtesy Kenny Martin.

The son of A.P. Indy has never been worse than second in six starts, including a victory in the Grade II Remsen and a second-placed finish in the Grade I Champagne.

“At the eighth pole I thought maybe he was going to hang a little bit. But then he switched to his right lead and he came on,” traner Shug McGaughey said. “To see him run a race like that; this was only his second race in a year, we’ve all got to remember that. To see him come back and run the way he did and dig down, and from the five-sixteenths pole to the wire to run as hard as he did and then gallop out as well as he did, it’s a tribute to the horse.”

Virginia-bred Valid ran a strong race to be third despite being bumped repeatedly in the straight.

At Tampa Bay on March 7, one-time Kentucky Derby hopeful General a Rod, bred by Anne Poulson’s Hare Forest Farm, won the $60,000 Challenger Stakes by daylight. The 4-year-old son of Roman Ruler won the Gulfstream Derby in 2014, but hadn’t since the winner’s circle until this effort. Out of the Dynaformer mare Dynamite Eyes, he paid $5.60 to win by over 6 lengths here.

On March 5, every Virginia-bred that ran, across the country, ended the day in the winner’s circle. The Hart Farm-bred Lucky Stranger won an allowance at Delta Downs, while their Malibu Moon gelding Moonlight Meeting (now owned by Qatar Racing) broke his maiden at Santa Anita by 2 1/4 lengths. Meanwhile, the Lazy Lane homebred Rapid Rhythm broke her maiden first out at Fair Grounds. The 3-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal out of the Quiet American mare Patriot Miss took the 5 1/2-furlong turf contest by the better part of 2 lengths.