Saturday was a big night for Bill Mott, as he watched last year’s
champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta
romp in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs followed closely by Ron the Greek’s narrow victory in the
Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap. Sunday morning, it was back to business at Belmont Park, where the hall of fame trainer
sent out last year’s Cigar Mile winner To
Honor and Serve for a half-mile breeze in 48.33.
“I’m very happy with the way he went, and he’s a possibility
for the Suburban,” Mott said of the Bernardini colt, who last time out
finished third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap behind Shackleford and
The Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile race worth $350,000, is set
for July 7 at Belmont
Park and could attract
two other sons of Bernardini - last year’s Jim Dandy and Travers hero Stay Thirsty as well as the promising
Godolphin Racing colt Buffum.
Mott also reflected briefly on yesterday’s victories by Royal
Delta (eight-length winner) and Ron the Greek (victorious by a head).
“It was exciting just because she was so dominant,” he said
of Royal Delta, who last year won Grade 1 races in the TVG Alabama at Saratoga and
Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs.
Ron the Greek, meanwhile, could make an appearance in New
York later this year in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park this fall. Winner of the Santa
Anita Handicap earlier this year, the son of Full Mandate also finished second
in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic and the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in
“Right now, we’re pointing for the Jockey Club Gold Cup and
Breeders’ Cup and maybe something before, but we don’t know
yet,” Mott said. “That’s the plan right now. Hopefully, if
he’s healthy, three more races this year.”