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Code of Honor, a multiple Grade 1-winner trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, leads a talented field of five in the 40th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Kelso Handicap, a one-turn mile on the main track for 3-year-olds and upward at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 3.
The Kelso is one of five graded races on Saturday's card which includes the Grade 1, $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational, a 10-furlong turf test offering a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf; the Grade 1, $250,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at 12 furlongs on the turf for 3-year-olds and up; the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at 6 ½-furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up; and the Grade 2, $150,000 Pilgrim for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16-miles on the turf.
Race 8 at Belmont Park on Saturday, October 3 - Post 4:35 PM
|1||Mo Dont No||30-1||Manuel Franco
|2||Stan the Man||8-1||Eric Cancel
|John Terranova II|
|5||Code of Honor||1-1||Javier Castellano
|Claude McGaughey III|
Code of Honor enjoyed a tremendous sophomore campaign, capturing the 10-furlong Grade 1 Runhappy Travers at Saratoga ahead of a dramatic stretch duel with Vino Rosso in the 10-furlong Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup in which Code of Honor was elevated to victory. A standout 2019 season included graded scores in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont, the latter following a game effort in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, where the talented chestnut was elevated to second.
The 4-year-old Noble Mission colt opened his current campaign with a half-length score over Kelso-rival Endorsed in the Grade 3 Westchester traveling 1 1/16-miles over a muddy Belmont main. The $2.5-million earner followed with a closing third in the Runhappy Met Mile on July 4 and was subsequently an even fourth in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Whitney on August 1 at the Spa, defeated five lengths to the victorious Improbable who came back to win the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Following a brief freshening, Code of Honor has breezed five times, including a half-mile effort in 48.45 seconds Monday on Big Sandy. McGaughey said the colt is training forwardly as he prepares for the second half of his 2020 campaign.
"He's doing really well and has trained well into this," said McGaughey.
McGaughey, who won the 1993 Kelso with Hall of Famer Lure, said he preferred to bring Code of Honor back at a shorter distance rather than defend his title in the Grade 1, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10.
"After the Whitney I had to start over with him, so this is the restart," said McGaughey. "I don't want to run him a mile and a quarter after I backed off on him."
Code of Honor will exit post 5 under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, taking over from Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who will be piloting Grade 1 Kentucky Derby-winner Authentic in the Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico.
Godolphin homebred Endorsed sports a record of four wins and three seconds from 11 starts as he looks for his first career stakes score for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.
The regally bred Medaglia d'Oro colt, out of the 2012 Grade 1 Gazelle-winner Dance Card, opened his 4-year-old campaign in January with an optional claiming score at Gulfstream Park for former conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin. Following a fifth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March, Endorsed was transferred to the care of Mott and promptly won an optional-claiming tilt traveling 1 1/16-miles on May 2 at Oaklawn Park.
Endorsed proved stubborn down the lane with a prominent trip to be second in the Grade 3 Westchester ahead of a seventh in the Grade 1 Runhappy Met Mile. Last out, the versatile bay completed the exacta behind Spinoff in the restricted nine-furlong Alydar on August 9 at Saratoga.
Mott, in search of his first Kelso win, said Endorsed will appreciate the turn back in distance.
"I think the one-turn mile is good for him," said Mott. "I think that he's effective from a mile to a mile and a quarter, but he seemed to run real good here in the one-turn mile and a sixteenth in the Westchester."
Junior Alvarado will have the call from post 3.
Klaravich Stables' lightly raced Grade 1-winner Complexity will look to give four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown a second Kelso score following Patternrecognition's winning effort in 2018.
The 4-year-old Maclean's Music bay won the 2018 Grade 1 Champagne at second asking at Belmont but was tenth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile to complete the campaign. Complexity made three sophomore starts with an optional-claiming score on Big Sandy sandwiched between off-the-board efforts in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens at Belmont and the Grade 1 Malibu in December at Santa Anita.
Complexity kicked off his 4-year-old season with a smart 2 ¼-length score over Win Win Win in an optional-claiming mile on July 2 at Belmont, but had to settle for second to that same rival last out in the Grade 1 Forego contested through a rainstorm over a sloppy Saratoga main track on August 29.
Complexity will emerge from post 4 under Jose Ortiz.
Long Lake Stable's Stan the Man, trained by John Terranova, scratched out of last Saturday's six-furlong Grade 2 Vosburgh to enter the one-turn mile Kelso. Although cross-entered in Saturday's Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, he will compete at Belmont this weekend.
A veteran of 24 career starts, the Broken Vow chestnut boasts a record of 7-7-2 and enters from a last-to-first score in the restricted Tale of the Cat at six furlongs on August 20 at the Spa.
Stan the Man, who won the 2019 Queens County at the Big A, will be in search of a first graded stakes score in his fourth attempt. The gelding was sixth in the 2018 Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct; a front-running second in the 2019 Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont; and fifth in the 2019 Grade 2 True North.
Eric Cancel, aboard for the Cigar Mile effort, will guide Stan the Man from post 2.
Ron Paolucci Racing's Mo Dont No, a 7-year-old Ohio-bred son of Uncle Mo who is cross-entered in Friday's Grade 2 Phoenix at Keeneland, will instead make his New York debut in his 45th career start.
Trained by Anthony Quartarolo, the multiple stakes-winning Mo Dont No boasts a record of 20-10-3 with purse earnings in excess of $1 million. Two starts back, Mo Dont No captured the Governor's Buckeye Cup for the third time when traveling 10 furlongs against fellow Ohio-breds. He enters the Kelso off a flat sixth in the nine-furlong Grade 2 Charles Town Classic held August 28.
Manny Franco picks up the mount from the inside post.
The Kelso is slated as Race 8 on Saturday's 10-race program, which offers a first post of 12:40 p.m. Eastern.
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