Trainer Shug McGaughey has the $3m Pegasus World Cup in mind for Code Of Honor following his pleasing run at Churchill Downs in the Grade 1 Clark.
The four-year-old son of Noble Mission was forced to run wide in order to make his challenge and he eventually came up a length shy of winner Bodexpress as he settled for second in the Clark.
The Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup on January 23rd at Gulfstream Park is now a viable next target, says McGaughey.
Code Of Honor has posted strong 2020 efforts prior to the Clark, finishing third in the Grade 1 Met Mile and second in the Grade 2 Kelso following a winning comeback in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park.
“I thought he ran fine,” McGaughey said of the Clark run. “I was disappointed he didn’t win, but once he got freed up the other horse jumped away from him and we just couldn’t catch him. He’s at Payson Park this morning and we’ll point for the Pegasus.”
A January run at Gulfstream Park could see Code Of Honor, winner of the Grade 1 Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup as a three-year-old in 2019, significantly bolstering his $2,644,360 career earnings.
Meanwhile, McGaughey is eyeing the $1m Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational on the same card with North Dakota following his recent success in the Red Smith.
North Dakota was some way off the pace in that contest before unleashing a blistering finish in the home stretch to win the Grade 3 event by a half-length, registering a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the process.
The four-year-old Medaglia d’Oro colt, a half-brother to prolific stallion War Front, only broke his maiden in March on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs but he has come a long way in a short space of time since.
The trip in the Turf Invitational is maybe just shy of being optimal for North Dakota, but his Hall of Fame trainer is certainly seeing it as an option for a horse with still more improvement to come.
“I think he has a lot of upside,” McGaughey said. “It looks like he’s just learning how to run. Not sure where I want to run him next, maybe the Pegasus Turf. I wish it were a little farther, that would suit him better, but we’ll see.”