Honorable Duty wins third graded stakes of 2017 in Lukas Classic (G3)
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Distorted Humor's top handicap horse Honorable Duty led all the way in Saturday's $200,000 Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs to give the 5-year-old his third graded win of the year and push his earnings to nearly $800,000.

Earlier this spring Honorable Duty took both the New Orleans H. (G2) and Mineshaft H. (G3) at Fair Grounds. Since then, he ran second in the Alysheba S. (G2) and Stephen Foster H. (G1), the latter to leading Horse of the Year candidate Gun Runner.

Normally an off-the-pace runner, Honorable Duty shot out of the gate on Saturday from his outside post to take command right away. Flashy Jewel was his closest pursuer for the first six furlongs, when he suddenly gave way. In the stretch, it was all Honorable Duty, who opened up with authority to win by 4 3/4-lengths in 1:49.42 for the nine furlongs (VIDEO).

“As (trainer) Brendan (Walsh) told me after the race, ‘That was just a steering job,’” winning jockey Corey Lanerie said. “I can’t say enough how much of a great job the team did. The toughest part today was just getting him to the gate. The plan originally was to sit off of Flashy Jewel because he always shows speed. We caught a flier out of the gate so we just went for it from there. He sat the entire way with his ears up and very comfortable. Even when the horses got to me around the turn he still had his ears up and moved very easily.” 

The winner is now 7-4-1 in 15 lifetime starts for owner DARRS, Inc. and has earned $795,796. The regally-bred bay is out of Mesmeric, a daughter of mulitple Grade 1 winner Toussaud and a sister to Empire Maker, Chiselling, Honest Lady and Chester House, all Grade 1 winners as well.

Honorable Duty's next targets could be the $200,000 Fayette (G2) at Keeneland on Oct. 28and the $500,000 Clark H. (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. 
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