Honor A.P.

In more than one way, he is connected to his sire and grandsire. First, his name was a result of a combination of the two. And like both of them, he excelled at routing.

Though his career was not as long as theirs, he still managed to find success like they did as a Grade I winner.

Honor A.P. only made two starts as a juvenile, but he made the most of both outings against maiden special weight company. Far back in last place going down the backstretch first time out at Del Mar, he got up for second while going six furlongs. He had the noted jockey/trainer combination of Mike Smith and John Shirreffs of Zenyatta fame in his corner, and his rally was fitting reminisicent of his predecessor given the connections. And Smith would go on to be the only rider to pilot him on race days.

Start number two saw Honor A.P. going a mile at Santa Anita. It is possible the first race was a leg stretcher, given the pedigree. In any case, the sprint-to-route angle worked, for Honor A.P. went to the lead early and never looked back. He took care of his rivals handily as he achieved career win number one at the same track his grandsire, A.P. Indy, did back in 1991.

And like A.P. Indy, Honor A.P. was based at Santa Anita for his Kentucky Derby prep season. His sophomore campaign began in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes in early March, which saw the colt with a beautiful dark bay coat finish a game second. Then came the Santa Anita Derby in early June, and Honor A.P. added another trophy to the family tree. A.P. Indy won the race in 1992, and just like he did that year, Honor A.P. stayed within striking distance of the leaders before making a move at the top of the stretch to take over the lead and win while turning the tables on Authentic, who beat him in the San Felipe.

That kept a tradition in the family going: A.P.Indy won a Grade I at nie furlongs, as did Honor A.P's sire, Honor Code (who won the 2015 Whitney at Saratoga). And now Honor A.P. had that Grade I victory.

Honor A.P.'s last Kentucky Derby prep race came in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar. Back where his career began just under a year earlier, Honor A.P. took second in the contest. But the result only strengthened the belief that Honor A.P. could do well with more distance, for he came on towards the conclusion of the mile and a sixteenth event to not lose by much. Given the Kentucky Derby was ten furlongs, and A.P. Indy had done well at that distance, it did not seem out of the question that his grandson could handle it.

Neither A.P. Indy or Honor Code started in the Kentucky Derby, but Honor A.P. did. He would not be the winner on the first Saturday in September, but he accounted himself well by overcoming a slow start and racing in the back to finish fourth after catching most of his rivals and making a wide move in the stretch. It was like watching his debut the previous summer.

The Kentucky Derby turned out to be Honor A.P.'s last career start. A small injury sent him to retirement, and he was then sent to Lane's End Farm to stand at stud alongside Honor Code. And Lane's End is where A.P. Indy was stationed during his stallion career. Maybe Honor A.P. will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and sire many stakes winners.

Honor A.P. retired with a record of two wins and three seconds in six starts. More often than not, he fought in the stretch for the best possible result, and he proved to be both consistent and a winner. He also made the most of his career, and he retired a Grade I champion like Honor Code and A.P. Indy.

Not giving up can bring forth success. Honor A.P. is proof of that, and the 2020 season shows that that attitude made him one of the top three-year-olds in Southern California racing.

Entry added January 28, 2021 by AF.