Code West Guts Out Remington's Governor's Cup

Code West, responding to strong handling from jockey Cliff Berry in the stretch, got up in time to win the $176,050 Governor's Cup Stakes (VIDEO) the night of Aug. 16 at Remington Park for his first victory since June 2013.

Berry rode the 4-year-old ridgling son of Lemon Drop Kid   to a half-length tally for owner Bryan Hawk and trainer Boyd Caster.

Code West was within striking distance throughout along the inside while stalking pacesetter Right to Vote, advancing along the rail to challenge at mid-stretch and prevail in the final strides. Code West completed the 1 1/8-mile trip in 1:49.82 on a fast track.

A Triple Crown prospect last year when trained by Bob Baffert for Mary and Gary West, Code West scored for the first time since last year's Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. He was purchased privately by Hawk recently and was making his first start for his new connections.

The dark bay was out of action for nine months following a fifth-place finish in the Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) last summer.

It has been a good start to the Remington meet for Berry, the all-time leading rider at the Oklahoma City track. He won his 2,000th race there on opening night of the 2014 season Aug. 15.

"I was stuck on the inside," Berry said. "(Code West) was comfortable there and for some reason the horse on the lead (Right To Vote) stayed out and we had a dream trip. I thought he would squeeze back down on me (in the stretch) but he was worried about somebody else, I think. My horse ran good and just gutted it out."

Right To Vote, after carving fractions of :23.70, :47.55, and 1:11.34, battled gamely to hold second, 1 1/4 lengths better than For Greater Glory, who gained third after trailing the field until the top of the stretch. Sunbean, the 7-5 favorite in the field of eight, had little response in the stretch and finished fifth.

Last year, Code West ran second in the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots before a sixth in the Louisiana Derby took him out of Triple Crown consideration. He finished fifth in the Salvator Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth Park prior to the Governor's Cup.

Code West was bred in Virginia by Edward P. Evans out of the stakes-winning Saint Ballado mare Charitabledonation. He was part of the Evans estate dispersal at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale, going to Ben Glass, agent acting on behalf of the Wests, for $340,000 when consigned by Lane's End, agent.

"We've bought a lot of horses from the Wests," Caster said. "They're straight shooters and you get what you pay for. We've done well with them back here."

Second choice in the wagering, Code West carried 118 pounds and paid $7.20, $3.80, and $3.80. Right To Vote, shouldering 124, paid $3.80 and $3.60 as the third choice, completing a $25.80 exacta. For Greater Glory returned $5.60 to show.

Z Rockstar, Sunbean, Donoharm, Texas Bling, and Texas Air completed the order.

Code West ran his career record to 4-6-2 in 15 starts with earnings of $414,176.
 

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