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To Honor And Serve Cruises in Nashua

Heavily favored To Honor and Serve cruised to a front-running, four-length victory over Mucho Macho Man in the 35th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua, one of a trio of graded stakes Saturday afternoon at Aqueduct Racetrack.


Ridden by Jose Lezcano, the 2-year-old bay son of Bernardini quickly took command and ran easily through uncontested early fractions of 24.01, 48.27 and 1:12.10. Shaking off bids from the runner-up and Quality Council at the top of the stretch, To Honor and Serve spurted clear of his rivals approaching the eighth pole and then loped home in 1:35.86 for the mile.

“He just galloped into the lead, and when I asked him, he just, like, galloped,” said Lezcano. “I don’t know how to explain it. He won so easily.”


It was the second straight victory for To Honor and Serve, an 8 ¾-length winner of an off-the-turf maiden race at Belmont Park on October 2. A $575,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland yearling sales in 2009, To Honor and Serve earned $90,000 for his owner, Live Oak Plantation. Second in his first start at Saratoga Race Course, the colt has now won $144,640.


Sent off at 1-4, To Honor and Serve returned $2.70 for a $2 win bet.


“He’s still a baby, so we’ll take it step-by-step,” said Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to winning Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “He’s a quick learner, that’s for sure.”


Quality Council was 5 ¾ lengths back in third, with Settle for Medal and Economic Summit completing the order of finish.


Grassy scored his first graded stakes win in the 51st running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith, charging widest of all down the stretch to edge Rescue Squad by a length in the 1 3/8 mile turf race.


Ridden by Joe Bravo, the 4-year-old son of El Prado tucked in along the rail well behind Strike a Deal, who led through a half-mile in 51.52 and a mile in 1:43.37 over the soft course. Rounding the turn, Bravo tipped Grassy to the outside and the gray colt responded with a rousing late run that carried him under the wire in 2:20.06.


“The minute the gates opened, he gave me this sensation like ‘Yo jock, don’t worry about it. I got this,’” said Bravo. “He gave me the sensation that at any time he could’ve gone and run ‘em over.” 


The victory was the second in six start this year for Grassy, who in his previous race finished third, beaten 1 ½ lengths, by Winchester in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational over a yielding course at Belmont Park.


“Off his race in the Turf Classic, we thought this was a good spot for him,” said Ben Colebrook, assistant to winning trainer Christophe Clement. “He put in a big effort that day. Today, he was even more impressive.”


Owned by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm, Grassy returned $4.70 for a $2 win bet as the 6-5 favorite, and earned $90,000.


Bold Hawk was third, a neck behind Rescue Squad, with Whatsthescript, Simmard, Strike a Deal and Jeune-Turc completing the order of finish.


In the 35th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted for 2-year-old fillies, Full Moon Blues was never challenged as she led almost every step under jockey Malcolm Franklin on the way to a 2 ¼-length win over Tap for Luck.


Her time for the mile was 1:38.56.


“She didn’t break all that well, but no one else seemed anxious for the lead, and Malcolm was able to cruise on up there and dictate the pace,” said Tim Tullock, Jr., who trains Full Moon Blues for Jeffrey Nielsen.


Sent off as the 11-1 longshot in the field of five, Full Moon Blues returned $25 for a $2 win bet as she ran her record to 2-2-0 from four starts.


Favored Dixie City was third, followed by Pinch Pie and Doing Great.




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