Code of Honor overtook a tiring Hidden Scroll in the stretch to take the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
The son of Noble Mission waited patiently as Hidden Scroll battled longshot Gladiator King through lightning-fast fractions. The two fought for the lead, Hidden Scroll taking the lead on the backstretch, as they left the field behind by four lengths.
Code of Honor and Vekoma both lurked at the second part of the pack until Gladiator King began to tire. The two made their move, but Code of Honor slid past Hidden Scroll entering the homestretch and never looked back, going under the wire just in time, as Bourbon War made a torrid stretch run to take second. A very tired Hidden Scroll settled for fourth.
People were beginning to crown Hidden Scroll as a second Justify, a horse who had not run as a 2-year-old but impressed people with his maiden win. Justify had the luxury of running in an allowance race before his first graded stakes race; Hidden Scroll did not.
What this shows is how amazing Justify really was – to enter the Derby trail almost unheard of in winning his maiden on February 18, and then running the table on the prep races and Triple Crown. Hidden Scroll was trying to do the same thing, but he showed that as of now, he is no Justify. He tired because of the quick pace.
The Fountain of Youth may prove to be a learning tool for the son of Hard Spun. He may rebound in the Florida Derby nicely. But the hype can be dialed down on him somewhat.
What is not to be overlooked, though, is the effort of Code of Honor. Trainer
Shug McGaughey trained him harder after his fourth-place finish in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. The work paid off, and although he would have lost at a longer distance, Team Code of Honor will take the win – and the 50 Derby points.