Top Billing Out of Florida Derby Due to Injury

Top Billing Out of Florida Derby Due to Injury


HALLANDALE BEACH, FL– Top Billing, one of the most celebrated prospects for the $1 million Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) and Triple Crown, sustained an injury during a workout at Payson Park Saturday morning that has knocked the Shug McGaughey-trained colt off the Triple Crown Trail.           

It was determined the son of Curlin sustained a cracked cannon bone in his RIGHT FRONT.           

“We saw it after he pulled up from the breeze this morning,” McGaughey said. “We took him back to the barn, we x-rayed it and found it.”            

McGaughey said the long-term prognosis is good.           

“He’s going to Kentucky today. Hopefully he’ll get operated on tomorrow afternoon or first thing Monday morning,” McGaughey said.           

Top Billing had run three times at Gulfstream Park, finishing second in an entry-level allowance on Jan. 3 before capturing an optional claiming allowance race on Jan. 25 and finishing third in the $400,000 Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth (G2).           

McGaughey still has a Triple Crown prospect in his stable in Honor Code, who is scheduled to make his 2014 debut in Wednesday’s eighth race at Gulfstream. The 3-year-old son of A.P. Indy has been installed as the 3-5 favorite over four rivals in the $75,000 open allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Javier Castellano, who rode him to victory in the Remsen (G2) at Aqueduct in his 2013 finale, has the return mount.           

Honor Code’s training this winter was set back by bruised hind ankles, but he has a solid series of four workouts since being transferred from Payson Park in Indiantown, FL to Gulfstream.           

“I’m just looking for him to run a decent race,” McGaughey said. “I’d like him to win, but if he doesn’t, we’d like to see something to push on with.”           

Honor Code has been expected to be pointed to the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct on April 5, but Top Billing’s injury could bring the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 29 into McGaughey’s plans, depending on his performance on Wednesday.           

“It’s a good possibility,” said McGaughey, who has scheduled Honor Code to breeze three furlongs at Gulfstream Sunday morning.