W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor earned his first graded stakes win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. The sophomore colt earned 50 points for his victory and is currently in second place on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
The Shug McGaughey trainee was guided home by John Velazquez and finished off 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.85 over the fast surface.
Code of Honor is by three-time Group 1 star Noble Mission, whose first foals are three-year-olds this season. The Lane’s End Farm stallion was represented by his first stakes winner in the Fountain of Youth.
Noble Mission was a winner of more than $2 million on the track while racing in Europe. He counts himself as a sibling to a trio of stakes winners, and he is a full brother to the incomparable Frankel, who retired with a sterling 14-for-14 lifetime mark including nine straight Group 1 tallies to conclude his career.
He is out of the stakes winning Danehill mare Kind, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 star Powerscourt, multiple Grade 2 queen Riposte, as well as Group-1 placed stakes hero Last Train.
Code of Honor was produced from the Grade-3 winning Dixie Union mare Reunited, who is a three-quarter sister to stakes victor Deal Breaker, as well as a half-sister to the stakes-winning Summer Squall mare Wind Tunnel.
2000 Haskell Invitational (G1) and Malibu Stakes (G1) winner Dixie Union was a brilliant performer on the racetrack, and he has turned into a fine sire and broodmare sire. At stud, Dixie Union has sired 2012 Belmont (G1) winner Union Rags, 2013 Arkansas Derby (G1) star Overanalayze, Grade 1 winners Dixie Chatter and Hot Dixie Chick, as well as numerous other stakes winners.
Dixie Union is the broodmare sire of at least 34 stakes winners who have banked in excess of $38 million. His daughters are responsible for some top horses including champion Caledonia Road, Grade-1 winning millionaire Mor Spirit, Grade 1 queen Salty, and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day.
Code of Honor is bred to have stamina through his sire, though the progeny of Noble Mission have yet to prove that they will stay a classic distance. And while Dixie Union has been an influential broodmare sire, his top progeny have mostly excelled at middle distances.
I think the fact that Code of Honor is versatile, and that he is in the hands of the patient Shug McGaughey, are both positive factors for his ability to run nine furlongs and beyond. While I have some apprehension about his ability to thrive at 1 1/4 miles, Code of Honor has proven that he belongs on the list of legitimate Kentucky Derby candidates.
Code of Honor winning the Fountain of Youth (c) Coglianese Photography