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To Honor And Serve Likely for Cigar Mile

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is likely to have a pair of runners for Aqueduct Racetrack's holiday weekend stakes, with multiple Grade 2 winner To Honor and Serve being pointed to Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Cigar Mile Handicap and Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm winner Arena Elvira eyeing Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Go for Wand Handicap.

To Honor and Serve was beaten 3 ½ lengths when finishing seventh in the Grade 1, 1 ¼-mile Breeders' Cup Classic on November 5 at Churchill Downs, a race he entered off a victory in the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on September 24.

"We thought he was doing well enough to nominate and train up to the Cigar Mile," said Mott, who trains the 3-year-old son of Bernardini for Live Oak Plantation. "I know it's a bit of a squeeze to come back after a race like that, but he's feeling good, it's a Grade 1, and probably the last race of the season for him."

To Honor and Serve is 2-for-2 at Aqueduct with easy victories here last fall in the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 2 Remsen. The Nashua, which the colt won by four lengths, was run last year at a mile and Mott believes the distance could suit To Honor and Serve.

"I think it could be very good," said Mott. "He's a big horse, but he seems to be fairly quick and he has speed for his size. Shortening back from 1 ¼ miles to a mile is not usually an easy task, but it's possible."

Arena Elvira, fresh off her first graded stakes victory in the November 4 Turnback the Alarm, will try for her second graded victory this month in the Go for Wand. Owned by Carolyn Wilson, she has assembled a record of 6-3-2 from 11 starts at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles and has won her last three starts, all in 1 1/8-mile stakes races.

"Another one coming back quickly, shortening up and this is probably the last race of the season for her as well," said Mott. "She's doing well and we'll give it a try. She's really been a gem of consistency."


 

What the Nation is saying about To Honor And Serve Likely for Cigar Mile...

To Honor and Serve vs. Haynesfield & maybe Trappe Shot? I like it!

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