McGaughey hoping to go the distance with Greatest Honour

March 1, 2021

The Florida Derby is next

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Powered by ground-devouring strides, Courtlandt Farm’s Greatest Honour galloped past pacesetter Drain the Clock nearing the finish to capture Saturday’s $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park with speed to spare.

“It’s kind of fun to watch him run,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Sunday morning after reporting that all was well with Greatest Honour, who was settling back in at his winter home at Payson Park in Indiantown, FL.

Greatest Honour finished the 1 1/16-mile stakes for Triple Crown hopefuls in a manner that hardly told the story of his journey to the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle. The dirt that covered the son of Tapit as his pictured was being taken was much more telling of challenges the homebred colt had to overcome in order to come through for the bettors who had made him their even-money favorite.

Although he was getting dirt kicked in his face as he raced in traffic well behind pacesetting Drain the Clock along the length of the backstretch, Greatest Honor was hardly about to play the role of a 90-pound weakling.  Once he found running room to his outside on the far turn, the McGaughey trainee flexed his considerable muscle and powered his way to a 1 ½-length victory under Jose Ortiz.

“I knew we were in trouble. I was kind of waiting to see how it unfolded. You know, I’m not one to give up until it’s time to give up. I knew things weren’t going the way we wanted them to go,” McGaughey said. “They weren’t going that fast in front of us. I saw what was happening and I felt like if we could get him to the outside we’d have a chance. That’s exactly what happened.”

Greatest Honour’s gutsy victory in the Fountain of Youth was considerably more testing that his 5 ¾-length romp in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull (G3) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream.

“The Holy Bull – everything went perfect. [Saturday], he didn’t get anything perfect and he came back and won,” McGaughey said. “He was doing something he didn’t want to do – to run a mile and a sixteenth over this racetrack with the short pole. I’m just glad I don’t have to do that anymore.

“I was on the fence whether I wanted to run him back going a mile and a sixteenth here or not,” he added. “I decided that the way he worked last Sunday, it was time to go. Now, we have longer races in front of us. I still think his future is in front of him.”

Greatest Honour is being pointed to the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa March 27 at Gulfstream. McGaughey is hoping that Greatest Honour will follow the example set by Orb, whom he saddled for victories in the 2013 Fountain of Youth, 1 1/8-Florida Derby and the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby (G1).

Greatest Honour virtually earned his way into the Kentucky Derby field with his victory in the Fountain of Youth, which offered 50 qualifying points for the May 1st Derby. He currently sits atop the standings with 60 points. 

McGaughey also reported that Performer exited his third-place finish as the favorite in the $200,000 WinStar Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) in good order.

“I think he was fighting the racetrack a little bit,” said McGaughey, whose trainee had captured the Fred W. Hooper (G3) in his previous start. “I think it’s one of those things that it just wasn’t his day.

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photos: Greatest Honour, (Lauren King)

@jonathanstettin Well done per usual. A true horseplayer who can articulate nicely #keepitup.

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