Feature Photo: NYRA
Performer: Courtesy of Chelsea Durand
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said Performer exited his triumphant stakes debut in the Grade 3 Discovery at Aqueduct in excellent shape and will join the conditioner’s base at Payson Park in Indiantown, Florida next week.
Owned by breeder Phipps Stable in partnership with Claiborne Farm, the sophomore son of Speightstown, out of graded-stakes placed Protesting, was making his two-turn debut in the Discovery and arrived at the 1 1/8-mile event off of a second-level allowance triumph at Belmont Park over Grumps Little Tots, who was third in the Discovery.
At the top of the stretch, he confronted two-time graded stakes winner Tax, but the appropriately named Performer, with Joel Rosario up, successfully shook away from his opponent and dug in to win by 1 ¼ lengths, garnering a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.
“We’re very pleased with the way he ran. I thought Joel would save some horse and he did just that,” said McGaughey, who notched his first Discovery win since Gold Fever won in 1996. “He was progressing the whole way through the summer and fall. He’ll ship to Florida next week and hopefully we’ll have a good spring, summer and fall 4-year-old campaign for him.”
Boasting some of the Phipps Stables’ prestigious legacy, Performer is a direct descendant of undefeated champion Personal Ensign as well as multiple Grade 1 winner My Flag – the dam of 2002 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Storm Flag Flying.
Also set to ship to South Florida in the winter for McGaughey is dual Grade 1 winner Code of Honor, who is currently enjoying a brief freshening in Kentucky. Owned by W.S Farish, the son of Noble Mission won the Runhappy Travers before being elevated to first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. He was recently sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita.
McGaughey said Code of Honor will be pointed toward a likely return in the spring.
“He’s turned out in Kentucky and I’ll pick him up the first of January,” McGaughey said. “It was a planned turnout, nothing was wrong. I had planned on turning him out after the Breeders’ Cup, he had been going a pretty good while. We gave him a pretty good break and he’ll come back in the spring, too.”
Code of Honor, a homebred Noble Mission chestnut, was McGaughey’s fourth Travers winner joining Easy Goer (1989), Rhythm (1990) and Coronado’s Quest (1998). He also was a fourth Jockey Club Gold Cup winner for McGaughey after he saddled Vanlandingham (1985), Easy Goer (1989) and Miner’s Mark (1993).
Code Of Honor: Joe Labozzetta