ELMONT, N.Y. – Courtlandt Farms’ homebred Greatest Honour will look to recapture winning form for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Westchester for older horses going a one-turn mile over the main track at Belmont Park.
The Westchester, slated as Race 10, is one of three graded events on Saturday’s 11-race card, including the Grade 2, $200,000 Fort Marcy in Race 8 and the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay in Race 3.
Greatest Honour, a 4-year-old son of Tapit, broke his maiden at the end of his juvenile campaign before he established himself as a top prospect for the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby last year at Gulfstream Park, romping to a 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in his seasonal debut. He followed with a professional victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, coming on late to earn another graded score over subsequent Grade 1 winner Drain the Clock.
Greatest Honour made one more sophomore start in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last March, finishing third in a field of 11 as the heavy favorite after tracking in 10th and going three-wide down the stretch. He was away from the races for nearly a year after he was given time off to allow a cyst on his pastern to heal.
The bay colt made his return in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Challenger at Tampa Bay Downs, finishing sixth in the field of seven with returning rival Cody’s Wish finishing second. Greatest Honour showed improvement in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Ghostzapper on April 2 at Gulfstream, missing second by a nose despite a troubled start and going four-wide.
McGaughey said Greatest Honour’s schedule had to be adjusted when an allowance he was targeting did not fill in March at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“He’s progressed along and was kind of unlucky to not be second in the Ghostzapper,” said McGaughey, who won this event in 2020 with Code of Honor. “The race at Tampa I was forced into because the race in New York didn’t go. I had to take him down there to run over that deeper surface going two turns in his first start back. Hopefully, we’ve got him where we want him and we’ll take it from there.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano picks up the mount from post 1.
Cody’s Wish enters from his game runner-up effort in the Grade 3 Challenger at Tampa Bay for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. A Godolphin homebred, Cody’s Wish has never finished off-the-board in seven lifetime starts.
A 4-year-old Curlin colt, Cody’s Wish started off his career with a trio of third-place efforts before breaking his maiden at fourth asking going one mile in October at Churchill Downs. He followed with two allowance scores at the same distance and track, winning both by a combined 6 1/4 lengths.
Cody’s Wish made his stakes debut in the Challenger, held off the pace under jockey Luis Saez and closing in on pacesetter Wolfie’s Dynaghost at the stretch call. He battled with Scalding for the lead but was bested by a neck with multiple graded stakes placed Dynamic One 2 1/4 lengths back in third.
Cody’s Wish breezed a half-mile in 48.01 seconds on May 1 over the Belmont main track in his final preparation.
Junior Alvarado will ride from post 4.
Owner Klaravich Stables will be represented by three-time winner Sound Money, who makes his stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown. Brown is in search of his second Westchester victory after sending out Connect to a win in 2017 for owner Paul Pompa, Jr.
Sound Money enters from a last-to-first victory in a one-mile optional claiming race on April 2 at the Big A. The 4-year-old son of Flatter has finished off-the-board just once in eight starts, breaking his maiden at fifth asking in September at Monmouth Park. After a fifth in his first outing against winners, the bay colt was a cool 5 1/4-length winner facing allowance company on January 8 at Aqueduct, defeating next out winner and eventual stakes-placed American Monarch.
Sound Money worked a bullet five-eighths in 1:00.01 on April 30 over Big Sandy, the fastest of 14 works that day.
Kendrick Carmouche gets the call from post 2.
Owner and trainer Uriah St. Lewis will send out Informative for his seasonal bow after finishing a well-beaten seventh in the Kris Kringle on December 28 at Parx Racing. The 5-year-old Bodemeister dark bay’s 2021 campaign was topped by a victory in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile in June at Monmouth Park at odds of 79-1 over multiple graded stakes-placed Ny Traffic, who won the Affirmed Success last Friday at Belmont.
A $25,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, Informative has compiled a record of 31-3-3-2 for earnings of $289,040.
Dexter Haddock, who won two stakes this winter at Aqueduct for St. Lewis, will pilot Informative from post 5.
Completing the field is Winning Move Stable and Rideau Racers’ Zoomer for trainer Linda Rice. The 6-year-old gelded son of Curlin has been a popular horse in the claim box throughout his career, having been haltered nine times in his four seasons of racing. He most recently finished a close second in the seven-furlong Caixa Eletronica starter stakes on March 26 at the Big A first off the claim for Rice and is seeking his first stakes victory.
Zoomer, who is also entered for the main track only in a Thursday allowance at Belmont, will be ridden by Dylan Davis from post 3.
First post on Saturday’s 11-race card is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.
NYRA Press Release
Photo: Derbe Glass