ELMONT, N.Y. – Allen Stable’s homebred Civil Union worked a half-mile in 51 seconds flat in company with older allowance horse Sentry on the inner turf Sunday at Belmont Park in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland Race Course.
“The company carried her along,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “She worked good. She’s gotten better and better and stronger and stronger.”
The 5-year-old War Front mare extended her streak to four wins with a head score last out in the Grade 1, $250,000 Flower Bowl Invitational. The turf specialist arrived at the 10-furlong Widener turf test on a winning run-of-form that launched in a June 21 allowance tilt at Belmont and continued through scores in the 12-furlong River Memories on July 12 at Belmont and the 11-furlong Grade 2 Glens Falls at Saratoga.
Racing from sixth position early under Joel Rosario in the Flower Bowl, Civil Union advanced gamely to notch a narrow head score over Filly and Mare Turf-rivals My Sister Nat and Nay Lady Nay.
McGaughey said Civil Union, who ran second in a turf allowance in October 2018, in her lone Keeneland start, has the ability to be tactical if needed.
“In the Flower Bowl she was back a little further than usual,” said McGaughey. “If she gets a decent post and breaks good and depending what some of the others do, I know Joel will have her where he wants her to be. She’s pretty versatile. She can settle in behind or if she needs to be up close she can be up close.”
W.S. Farish homebred Code of Honor, a last-out second to Complexity in the Grade 2 Kelso, breezed a bullet half mile solo in 47.66 Sunday on the fast Belmont main track.
McGaughey said the Noble Mission chestnut will target the Grade 1, $500,000 Clark, a nine-furlong test for 3-year-olds and up on November 27 at Churchill Downs – although the Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile for 3-year-olds and up on December 5 at Aqueduct Racetrack remains under consideration.
“Code of Honor worked really good. I think the track pulled him along a bit but he’s been doing good,” said McGaughey. “We’ll see how he comes along in the next few weeks and then decide if we run here or go to the Clark, but I think the two turns and a mile and an eighth probably suits him better than the mile.”
A winner of last year’s Grade 1 Runhappy Travers and Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Code of Honor is out of the graded stakes winning Dixie Union mare Reunited.
McGaughey is likely to target the Grade 1 Cigar Mile with Phipps Stable and Claiborne Farm’s Performer. The 4-year-old Speightstown chestnut earned a 98 Beyer last out when capturing an optional-claiming mile on October 17 at Belmont off an 11-month layoff.
“Performer is doing good. If the track is OK tomorrow he’ll work here,” said McGaughey.
Photo: Top: Civil Union (NYRA/Coglianese)