Honor Code impresses in Met Mile
NEW YORK (AP) Honor Code was the second most impressive performer on Belmont Stakes Day, posting a three-length victory in the $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap.
The star of afternoon was American Pharoah with his front-running Belmont win for the Triple Crown.
Honor Code certainly merited honorable mention.
The 4-year-old stormed past pacesetter Private Zone for his fifth win in eight starts.
Honor Code was considered a Triple Crown contender last year until an injury knocked him out of the series. He made only two starts in 2014.
With the turn of the calendar, Honor Code has emerged as a leader in the older horse division.
He started the campaign with a victory in the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March before a running a dull fifth in the Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Honor Code ($16.20) was back on his game for the Met Mile, dropping far back as usual before roaring home.
The time was a quick 1:33.18 with Javier Castellano riding for trainer Shug McGaughey.
''When I pushed the button, he took off and gave me a beautiful stride,'' Castellano said.
Tonalist, winner of last year's Belmont Stakes to deny California Chrome the Triple Crown, closed to get second but was no match for the winner. Private Zone held on for third.
Bayern, last year's Breeders' Cup Classic winner trained by Bob Baffert, finished last.
In the other stakes:
-Tepin ($11.20) extended her winning streak to three with a three-quarters of a length win in the $700,000 Just A Game Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.
-Slumber ($30.20) won the $1 million Manhattan over stablemate Big Blue Kitten. Irad Ortiz Jr. was aboard the winner for his fifth stakes victory in two days at Belmont.
-Trainer Todd Pletcher won three of the first seven races on Belmont day, including back-to-back stakes with Curalina and Coach Inge.
Curalina was the 7-1 upset winner of the $750,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Making only her fourth start, Curalina edged By the Moon by a neck for her third victory.
Shook Up, the runner-up in the Kentucky Oaks, finished last and left the track in the equine ambulance with an inflatable cast on her right front leg.
John Velazquez rode both Curalina ($16.40) and Coach Inge ($7.90) in the $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational.
-Wedding Toast ($6.30) was the five-length winner in the $1 million Ogden Phipps Stakes for older fillies and mares.
It was the biggest - and richest - career win for the 5-year-old trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Jose Lezcano.
The victory guaranteed Wedding Toast an expenses-paid entry into the Breeders' Cup Distaff in October at Keeneland.
Untapable, the 3-5 favorite and last season's champion 3-year-old filly, barely held off House Rules for second.
-March ($22.80) fought back along the rail to edge Cinco Charlie by a nose in the $500,000 Woody Stephens for 3-year-old sprinters. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. again had the hot hand.
-A three-horse field turned in to a three-horse race to the finish, with Japan rallying on the outside for the 1 1/4-length win over Stanford in the $150,000 Easy Goer. Nonna's Boy was third, a quarter-length behind the runner-up.
The race is named for 1989 Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer, who spoiled Sunday Silence's Triple Crown try.
Japan was trained by Bill Mott and was ridden by Junior Alvarado.
-Channel Marker ($23.60) captured the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational on the turf with Francisco Torres aboard for trainer Phil Bauer.