David A. Ross’ Honorable Duty put in a long stretch run to just get his head in front of Breaking Lucky at the wire in Saturday’s Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, winning his third consecutive stakes race of the Fair Grounds meeting. It was also his third victory since he’d been gelded. Under jockey James Graham, the 5-year-old son of Distorted Humor covered nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:48.35 for trainer Brendan Walsh.
Breaking Lucky was very quick out of the starting gates, and as expected wen straight to the lead. He immediately had pressure from Iron Fist on his outside, pursuing him through fractions of :23.50 and :46.63 around the first turn. Aglimpseofgabby tracked from third, with race favorite Noble Bird in a very good spot in fourth. From there, it was a seven-length gap back to Honorable Duty, unhurried in the fifth position.
Approaching the far turn, Honorable Duty still has as many as nine lengths to make up on the leaders, and Breaking Lucky was beginning to pull away from the field as Noble Bird proved no match. Breaking Lucky turned for home with a two-length lead, and had drawn that out to at least four lengths before Honorable Duty caught sight of him on the lead. Finally responding to Graham’s urging, Honorable Duty dug in gamely to run down the leader, who was tiring and lugging out nearing the wire.
Honorable Duty just got up to put his head in front of Breaking Lucky at the wire, with Iron First sticking around to finish third. Eagle got up to finish fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte Farms, Honorable Duty brought $ 130,000 at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in 2015; at that time, he’d run three times and had yet to break his maiden, placing twice. The horse has grown up well since then, especially this winter season at the Fair Grounds after being gelded. Overall, Honorable Duty’s record now stands at six wins from 12 starts, with earnings of nearly $ 500,000.
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