‘Distance Is Gonna Be His Friend’: McGaughey Confident In Florida Derby Favorite Greatest Honour

Courtlandt Farms’ homebred Greatest Honour could become the first horse in history to win all three graded prep races for the Kentucky Derby at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla. Trainer Shug McGaughey believes the 3-year-old is up to the task ahead of this Saturday’s Grade 1 Florida Derby.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” McGaughey said on Tuesday’s NTRA media conference call. “I think with him winning here (at Gulfstream) going a mile and a sixteenth, over a speed favoring racetrack, with a short stretch, that says a lot about him, because I don’t think that’s what he wants to do.

“A mile and an eighth should suit him a lot better than this mile and a sixteenth with a short pole… Distance is gonna be his friend.”

The Tapit colt took three tries to break his maiden, but hasn’t lost a race since. Greatest Honour was impressive winning January’s G3 Holy Bull Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths, but was arguably even more impressive last out in the G2 Fountain of Youth. Well behind his rivals early with a slow pace ahead of him, and still 8 1/2 lengths behind the leader with five-sixteenths of a mile to run, Greatest Honour surged late win by 1 1/2 lengths.

In the Holy Bull everything went right, and in the Fountain of Youth, everything went wrong,” quipped McGaughey. “I thought it was a good learning experience for him, and he was still able to win.”

Even before Greatest Honour broke his maiden, McGaughey had been plotting a Florida path to the Kentucky Derby for the colt. It’s the same route the trainer took with Derby winner Orb ahead of the 2013 Run for the Roses.

“I kind of had in my mind that if he’s this kind of horse he’s gonna need racing, so we got him down here and that’s what he’s done,” McGaughey said. “My philosophy is unless we think we deserve to be (in the Kentucky Derby), we won’t be there.”

McGaughey has been training for Donald and Donna Adams’ Courtlandt Stable for just shy of 10 months now, with Kentucky-based Ernie Retamoza managing the stable. The new clients have been easy to work for, McGaughey said, and there are several nice horses he’s looking forward to running in 2021.

“I predict that we’re gonna have a good, long, meaningful relationship, and it started off pretty good with Greatest Honour,” the trainer summarized.

The post ‘Distance Is Gonna Be His Friend’: McGaughey Confident In Florida Derby Favorite Greatest Honour appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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