Florida Derby Runner-Up State Of Honor Breezes At Churchill Downs
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, April 16, 2017) – Florida Derby (Grade I) runner-up State of Honor breezed a half-mile in :49.80 over a fast track on Easter Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a start in the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday, May 6.
The Ontario-bred son of To Honor and Serve, trained by MarkCasse, was put through eighth-mile splits of :12 and :24.40 by exercise E.J. Bowler and galloped out five furlongs past the wire in 1:02.
“We really just wanted to get a solid maintenance-work in him before something more serious next week,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “State of Honor is a tremendous work horse so we will probably keep breezing him by himself.”
Throughout his six-race 2-year-old season, State of Honor trained and raced exclusively over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta surface with the exception of one turf race. But his future engagements changed after Casse breezed the colt on dirt at Palm Meadows in South Florida this winter.
“Horses that are primarily based on the synthetic track need time to acclimate to the dirt surface,” Norm Casse said. “We really thought State of Honor was a true dirt horse after his first breeze at Palm Meadows. We have been treating every race in his 3-year-old campaign as a steppingstone to the first Saturday in May, and he has improved in each start.”