Turf Classic (gr. IT) winner Honor In War is back in training after a minor ankle injury knocked him out of last week's Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita. Trainer Paul J. McGee is considering a possible run on the dirt in the biggest event of the Churchill Downs' fall meet, the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) on Nov. 28.
Owned by 3rd Turn Stable, a partnership headed by former National Football League star Will Wolford, Honor In War has enjoyed his greatest moments on the grass, topped by his win in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. But his first career victory came on the main track at Keeneland and his versatile sire, the late Lord At War, has produced stakes winners on both turf and dirt.
"We're kicking around the Clark a little bit," said McGee. "Will has mentioned the fact that, if he were to jump up and win the Clark, what that would do for his stud value. I don't know how serious we'll get about it, but the next week or two will tell us."
McGee said Honor In War would be nominated for both the Clark and the $150,000-added River City Handicap (gr. IIIT), a 1 1/8-mile turf race for older horses scheduled for Nov. 16. Whether the 4-year-old colt makes either race depends on his training over the next few days as Honor In War works to make up for the week of training he lost when he sprained his left front ankle less than two weeks before the Breeders' Cup.
"It took four or five days for it (the swelling) to come down to normal," said McGee. "I ended up giving him a week off. Then jogged for the last week and has galloped for a couple of days."
Regardless of the final decision on a bid for either the River City or the Clark, Honor In War will be back in McGee's barn for a campaign in 2005. Wolford and his 3rd Turn partners have pulled the colt out of the catalog for the November Breeding Stock Sale at Keeneland.
Honor In War has a career record of 7-2-3 in 17 races and has earned $732,296. He is 4-1-1 in nine races in this year's breakthrough season.