Lightly raced four-year-old Absolute Honour (In My Glory, by Honour and Glory) debuted in April, trying a maiden special weight at a mile over the grass at Keeneland. The distance and surface seemed logical: his dam did her best work going two turns on the green stuff. Unfortunately, the likes of My Afleet, Florida Won, and Archway to Heaven were a bit too tough for him, and he finished tenth. Next out he tried maiden special company again, but going a mile over the Indiana Grand dirt. He stalked well early, but lost ground to finish a well-beaten fifth.
That race happened on May 13. He did not see the starter again until today.
Absolute Honour was eight and a half months older, a positive point given both sides of his pedigree. Not only do Curlin’s progeny tend to improve with age, but In My Glory performed better at four and five than she did at three. She ascended from the claiming ranks at three to the allowance ranks at four, and then raced exclusively in stakes at five.
He made a few changes other than age, as well. He moved into the barn of Efrain Miranda, who has shown some success with runners off long lays, and cut back to a sprint. He made The Drop, trying maiden claimers for the first time. He had also been gelded over his time off, something that had the chance of helping him along. Finally, he was trying a synthetic surface for the first time — definitely not his sire’s favourite, but his dam had graduated over the main track at Hollywood during its Cushion Track days.
The gates opened, and Absolute Honour was forwardly placed along the rail. In the opening stages of the race he pressed odds-on favourite Zenyandthejet closely on his inside. Going into the far turn, Zenyandthejet opened a lead. Absolute Honour let the favourite get almost three lengths ahead, though he stayed at the front of a compact main pack that consisted of all four other runners in the five-horse field.
Approaching the stretch, Absolute Honour found his next gear. He took aim on Zenyandthejet, this time on the outside. He got close entering the final furlong. The leader had run out of steam by the sixteenth pole, and Absolute Honour passed right by to win by three quarters of a length.
Given the plethora of changes between last race and this time out, it will be exciting to see where Absolute Honour goes next. Will he go long or stay short? Will he stay on Tapeta or try another surface again? Will he remain in the claiming ranks, or climb the class ladder like his dam did?
Time will tell.