Derby hopefuls Coliseum and Code of Honor both turned in disappointing performances in the Sham and Mucho Macho Man Stakes, leaving possible newcomers to take their place in the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Coliseum known to be stubborn and unruly, was rank in the paddock, rearing on his hind legs at one point, then broke poorly at the beginning of the Sham Stakes. He was already trailing the field by two lengths within the first 100 yards.
Jockey Joe Talamo tried to make up the ground too quickly, forcing Coliseum to burn energy to reach the middle of the field and within striking distance of Savagery. Gunmetal Gray and Mike Smith decided instead to rate, sitting comfortably in last place two lengths behind the rest of the field.
The pace picked up around the far turn as Much Better took control of the race. Coliseum went four wide, but Gunmetal Gray was outside of him, making his move.
As Much Better slowly gave up ground to Sueno, Gunmetal Gray shot by everyone in the homestretch, looking impressive in a one-length victory over Sueno.
Coliseum finished sixth and clearly didn’t have anything left in the tank when asked to run around the far turn.
Code of Honor also disappointed fans as the 4-5 favorite finished fourth behind Mihos, a son of Wicked Strong who came from behind to win the Mucho Macho Man Stakes.
Both Mihos and Code of Honor stalked the leader, Gladiator King until the end of the backstretch, when Code of Honor got to within one length of the lead. But it was all he could muster, and he did not fire when asked.
Meanwhile, Mihos went five wide around the turn and began to slowly eat up ground as Trophy Chaser grabbed the lead and seemed to have taken command.
But Mihos kept running after him, and came in under the wire just a head in front of Trophy Chaser. Garter and Tie finished third.
Gunmetal Gray got 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, but Mihos did not get any because the Mucho Macho Man Stakes does not award any points in the standings.