Post-Race Analysis: G2 Remsen Stakes

Perhaps the most anticipated of this year's juvenile stakes races, the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct lived up to the expectations. Not only did we see another dimension of the well-regarded Honor Code, but we learned that Cairo Prince is the real deal, and were introduced to potential stars Wicked Strong and Intense Holiday.

Honor Code impressed me in that he was able to win without coming from the back, often horses fold when the pace scenario is completely against their running style, but this son of A.P. Indy showed a versatility that is rarely seen in a two-year old.

Of all of the runners in the Remsen, none stood out to me more than Cairo Prince. Not only did he have a much wider trip than Honor Code, but he spotted him six pounds only to lose by a nose. We all know that Honor Code has a sizzling turn of foot, but Cairo Prince kept right up with him as they dueled down the stretch. In what was the toughest test to this point for the leading son of freshman sire Pioneerof the Nile, Cairo Prince proved he belongs in the conversation of early Kentucky Derby favorites.

Although overshadowed by the top two, Wicked Strong and Intense Holiday are both horses to keep an eye on moving forward from this race. In what was only his third start and first against stakes company, Wicked Strong seemed a bit green. He appeared to be looking around early on and he drifted outside when the stick was used, but the fact that he was still able to get himself together enough to be closing on the dueling top two at the end speaks to this colt's potential. Like Wicked Strong, Intense Holiday had a bit of a tough start. The son of Hard Spun also had a wide trip and was hampered by Wicked Strong down the stretch, yet he still finished less than three lengths behind Honor Code.
Last but not least, on Twitter, I've been asked about what I look for during a race and what notes I take on the runners, so below I've posted my personal trip notes for the top four runners in the G2 Remsen in order for you to get a idea of what sticks out to me when I'm analyzing a race.

Honor Code (A.P. Indy-Serena's Cat, by Storm Cat)
After a slight stumble while coming out of the gate, Honor Code settled along the inside, just off of the pace set by Master Lightning. After the first quarter, Javier Castellano brought him to the outside of Master Lightning at the front of the pack, where he stayed before making his move at the top of the stretch. It was there that he took the lead while running between Cairo Prince and a fading Master Lightning. He moved over to the rail, during which he was momentarily passed by Cairo Prince, but he fought back to nose out the victory at the wire.

Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile-Holy Bubbette, by Holy Bull)
Broke from the far outside post and ran four-wide alongside the leaders before settling three-wide, just off the lead set by Master Lightning. He began to make his move to the outside of Master Lightning and Honor Code around the second turn, despite being pushed a bit wide by the aforementioned son of A.P. Indy. He took a slim lead near the eighth pole, but was nipped at the wire.

Wicked Strong (Hard Spun-Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic)
Slow start, moved inside and was forwardly placed alongside the rail. He was positioned just behind the leading trio entering the stretch, but appeared to suddenly drift outside when Rajiv Maragh used the stick. He gathered himself, however, and was closing on the top duo late.

Intense Holiday (Harlan's Holiday-Intensify, by Unbridled's Song)
Slow start, three-wide mid-pack around first turn. Two lengths back after the first half. Asked to go while entering second turn in the three-wide path. Exited the turn four-wide before having to check up slightly when Wicked Strong drifted towards him, but closed well late, regardless.

As always, I want to know what you think! Feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment and if there are any other races for which you'd like me to post my analysis, please let me know. For all of the latest updates and picks, follow me on Twitter @chare889.


  1. how of your capping is based on breeding background. I just found your site thanks for sharing your love of the game.

    1. Pedigree matters in my handicapping when I have to predict whether a horse will handle a certain surface (dirt, turf, synthetic) or distance. Of course, it also plays a big role in handicapping races on a wet track.

  2. I don't know how one can make any conclusions from this race, given the 6 panels went in 1:17! One won't know a darn thing about any horse int his race until their Jan/Feb races.

    1. Slow paces can bring more horses into the mix, but for a horse like Honor Code to run a good 2nd in the hot-paced Champagne and then win here w/s completely different pace setup is impressive.

      Absolutely agree that it's anyone's guess who's on the path to the KY Derby at this point though.


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