He needed the length of the stretch to get up, but Honorable Duty made it three-for-three during the Fair Grounds winter/spring meet with an upset of Saturday’s $400,000 New Orleans H. (G2).
Owned by DAARS Inc. and trained by Brendan Walsh, Honorable Duty entered the 1 1/8-mile New Orleans off back-to-back wins in the $75,000 Tenacious and the Mineshaft H. (G3), which happened to be his first two starts since being gelded late last year. However, he was an overlooked 8-1 in a field of nine.
Although 9-5 favorite Noble Bird was expected to show speed, Breaking Lucky proved fastest from post 1 and set a pace of :23.50, :46.63, and 1:10.35 while under steady pressure from Iron Fist. Honorable Duty, meanwhile, rated more than 10 lengths behind in mid-pack through the opening half before gradually improving position into upper stretch.
Breaking Lucky shook loose from Iron Fist and opened up a three-length advantage at the eighth pole, but the strong early pace made him weary late as Honorable Duty, under James Graham, closed the gap and won by a neck in a time of 1:48.35 over a fast track. Honorable Duty paid $18.80.
Breaking Lucky, unlucky to do all the dirty work and miss in a photo, had five lengths on Iron Fist. The order of finish was rounded out by Eagle, Hawaakom, Noble Bird, Mo Tom, International Star, and Aglimpseofgabby.
Unplaced in his first two stakes appearances before his gelding, Honorable Duty has now bankrolled $501,276 from a line of 12-6-2-1.
“[Gelding him before the Tenacious] really helped,” Walsh said. “He got to the point where his mind was getting the better of him and he wasn’t going to advance without doing that and so we did it and he’s done nothing wrong since.”
Honorable Duty is a son of Distorted Humor and out of the A.P. Indy mare Mesmeric. Her dam was the blue hen Grade 1 winner Toussaud, who also reared classic winner Empire Maker, Grade 1 winners Chester House, Honest Lady, and Chiselling, and Grade 2 scorer Decarchy.