Code Warrior turned in an impressive debut score in the sixth race Aug. 28 at Golden Gate Fields to give trainer Manuel Badilla an emotional and notable victory.
In recent years, Badilla had worked as an assistant trainer for Northern California mainstay William J. Morey, Jr., who died in April. Code Warrior's victory was Badilla's first since the 58-year-old took out his trainer's license following Morey's death.
BLOOD-HORSE STAFF: Trainer William J. Morey Jr. Dies at 74
The 5-2 second choice in the field of seven 2-year-old fillies, Code Warrior pressed the early pace, made the lead at the top of the stretch, and kicked clear under jockey Anne Sanguinetti to win by seven lengths.
"It was great. It was far out, even," Badilla said. "We expected to win. We already knew. We couldn't wait for this race to finally get here. This is just the beginning with this filly."
Badilla said his relationship with Morey went back to the late 1970s and that he officially became Morey's assistant for the first time in 1985.
Code Warrior's win, however, wasn't Badilla's first as a trainer. He won four races under his name between 1997 and 2000, and the trainer noted that he has other wins that aren't reflected in Equibase's statistics. Badilla also served as Bill Currin's substitute trainer during the 1980s.
"(Morey) is looking down on us giving his thumbs up right now," Badilla said. "I told Annie that this filly was being trained the Bill Morey way and (Jerry) Hollendorfer way. I put it together with two of my favorite trainers. Hollendorfer is a good friend of mine, and I respect him a lot, but Bill was the greatest teacher I could have ever worked for."
Code Warrior, a Florida-bred daughter of Society's Chairman , is owned the winning rider's parents, John and Chris Sanguinetti, who race under the name J. C. Racing Stable.
Morey's son, trainer William E. Morey, won the following race with Two Pump.