Honorable Dillon capped off a remarkable Saturday for his sire Tapit with a thrilling win in the Grade 2 Hutcheson S. at Gulfstream Park, taking the $190,000 contest for 3-year-olds by a half-length.
Honorable Dillon was one of three graded stakes winners on the day by her sire, along with Flashback in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis S. at Santa Anita and Tapicat in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.
Tapit entered the day ranked fourth on the 2013 General Sire list and will almost certainly sit atop the standings after Saturday's racing is completed.
Making his first stakes start in the seven furlong Hutcheson, Honorable Dillon stalked the early pace set by Singanothersong and pressed by Undrafted along the backstretch. When the pacesetter tired on the far turn, Undrafted and Honorable Dillon locked up for a spirited stretch duel.
Honorable Dillon edged away from Undrafted in deep stretch then held off the 9-5 favorite Forty Tales to get the trip in a quick 1:22.53.
“It set up good. I thought he’d relax behind the pace. I thought there’d be some speed in the race, and there was. He relaxed beautifully and stalked on the outside and really dug in,” winning trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “He was a little green and was on the wrong lead in the stretch, but he gutted it out. He’s determined. He’s a nice horse.”
Kenneally said he’d talk with the owner to come up with a plan for Honorable Dillon's next start.
“It’s a shame that these Grade 2 stakes aren’t getting any points for the Kentucky Derby. I think it’s wrong. We may try (to stretch him out). We’d like to try at some point,” Kenneally said. “He’s bred to go farther than seven eighths of a mile. Can he do it? We’ll find out when we try.”
Kenneally said the seven-furlong Swale (Grade 3, March 2 at Gulfstream) is a definite possibility.
Owned by Joseph Bucci, Honorable Dillon is now 2-1-1 in four starts and has bankrolled $155,570. The gray or roan colt was a $100,000 purchase by Kenneally, as agent, out of the 2012 Fasig-Tipton March Florida 2-year-olds in training sale.