Honor Code after winning the Remsen Stakes.
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Honor Code after winning the Remsen Stakes.
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McGaughey Looks Forward to New Derby Season

Hall of Fame trainer has leading contender in Honor Code; McLaughlin has one, too.

Seven months after his first victory in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Orb , Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey seems excited to try it again with Remsen Stakes (gr. II) winner Honor Code .

Speaking by telephone Dec. 1 from South Florida, where he soon will be joined by by Honor Code, McGaughey said the son of A.P. Indy came out of his victory in good order and will be prepared for a 2014 Triple Crown campaign.

"What impressed me the most was how he handled the day; he shipped over (from Belmont Park) well and broke a lot better," said McGaughey. "They went three-quarters in 1:17 but he was right there. He made the lead, lost it and then refocused. They went the last part in :11 and change and he beat a very nice horse (Cairo Prince ) who'd run twice since Honor Code's last race."

With his game nose victory, Honor Code is now 2-1-0 from three career starts. He graduated in a last-to-first effort from 22 lengths behind while  going seven furlongs on a sloppy track at Saratoga Race Course. He then finished second to Havana in the Foxwoods Champagne (gr. I), overcoming a very wide final turn to miss by a neck going a mile at Belmont Park.

"I was watching the replay (of the Remsen) and he galloped out well, which is what (jockey Javier Castellano) said in our conversation after the race," the trainer said.

McGaughey said Honor Code most likely would begin his 3-year-old campaign in Florida but left open the option of returning to New York for the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I).

"He's going to be here in Florida; we'll watch him and see how he's doing," he said. "I've got nothing specific in my head other than he'll start when and where he tells us."

Meanwhile, Remsen runner-up Cairo Prince emerged from his efforts in good order, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said, adding that he remains convinced he has a top 3-year-old prospect in the gray son of Pioneerof the Nile .

"He was wide on both turns and then when he got there at the eighth pole, the jockey (Luis Saez) was maybe a little overconfident and thought he was the winner," said McLaughlin. "Then Javier came back (aboard Honor Code) and it was his day yesterday, winning five.

"Honor Code is a nice horse, but we were giving him six pounds and to lose by a nose, we feel like we have the best horse right now. Moving forward, we'll see."

McLaughlin said Cairo Prince would depart for Florida this week, with an eye toward the Triple Crown preps, possibly to include the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) and Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

"He's the real deal," said the trainer. "He'll get the distance; he was unlucky yesterday."