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Honor Code rushes up from last to win Met Mile

Slumber, ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., crosses

Slumber, ridden by jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., crosses the finish line to win the 114th running of the Knob Creek Manhattan horse race at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 6, 2015, in Elmont. Photo Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

Honor Code was a distant last down the backstretch, and the faster Power Broker and Bayern went up front, the better his position appeared.

Javier Castellano, a master at working out perfect trips, did it again Saturday in the Grade I, $1.25-million Met Mile. As Power Broker shot clear after 6 furlongs in a blazing 1:08.74, Castellano moved Honor Code to the far outside and let him roll. He surged down the middle of the track and drew off to a 3 3/4-length rout of 8-5 favorite Tonalist. It was the first loss in five starts at Belmont Park for last year's Belmont Stakes hero.

Honor Code paid $16.20 after a mile in a very quick 1:33.18 on a fast track. It was his fifth win in eight starts for trainer Shug McGaughey and co-owners Lane's End Racing and Dell Ridge Farm.

"I was a little concerned with how far back we were, but he kicked and the speed came back to him," McGaughey said. "It means a lot to win the Met Mile. It's a race I've held in high esteem for a long time."

Manhattan to Slumber

Slumber ($30.20) awakened from a 10-race losing streak in the Grade I Manhattan Stakes, the 1 1/4-mile turf race immediately before the Belmont. Trainer Chad Brown added blinkers, and the 7-year-old, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., responded with a 2 3/4-length win over Big Blue Kitten.

Around the track

Many racetrack novices in the huge crowd learned what hard-core handicappers know all too well: Anything can happen on the track, no matter how good a horse looks on paper.

Two heavy favorites, the previously unbeaten 3-year-old Competitive Edge and last year's 3-year-old filly champion, Untapable, were upset in the third and fifth races.

Competitive Edge, at odds of 2-5, finished last of six in the $500,000, Grade II Woody Stephens Stakes for 3-year-olds. He entered 4-for-4 for trainer Todd Pletcher. March ($22.80) nosed out fellow 10-1 shot Cinco Charlie after running 7 furlongs in 1:21.37.

Untapable, at 3-5 odds, never was a threat to front-running Wedding Toast, who beat her by five lengths in the $955,000, Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes. Wedding Toast, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Jose Lezcano, paid $6.30 after 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.21.

In another upset, Curalina ($16.40) overcame a poor start under John Velazquez to take the Grade I, $750,000 Acorn Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by a neck over 30-1 By the Moon. Curalina ran a mile in 1:35.13 in her stakes debut for Pletcher.

In other undercard stakes: Channel Marker ($23.60) also burned favorite players in the Grade III, $300,000 Jaipur at 6 furlongs on a good turf course. Francisco Torres rode the Philip Bauer-trained winner, who was 0-for-8 since October 2013 . . . Coach Inge ($7.90) won the 1 1/2-mile Brooklyn Handicap, the dress rehearsal for the Belmont, by a neck over last year's Travers winner, V.E. Day. Pletcher trains Coach Inge, who was ridden by Velazquez, for Mike Repole.

Julien Leparoux stalked the pace before rallying Tepin ($11.20) to a half-length win for trainer Mark Casse in the Grade I, $700,000 Just a Game for fillies and mares at a mile on turf . . . Japan ($6.10), trained by Bill Mott, rallied wide for Junior Alvarado to beat only two 3-year-old rivals, both trained by Pletcher, in the $150,000 Easy Goer. Two scratches eliminated place and show betting.

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