Race of the Week 2017

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A New York State of Racing

To Honor and Serve Steps Up in the Woodward

The big question before the Woodward was: who will show up with their best effort from the three millionaire runners – Mucho Macho Man, To Honor and Serve, or Stay Thirsty?
To Honor and Serve and Mucho Macho Man both showed up to run their best races today. In the Woodward, To Honor and Serve prevailed by a neck after the two of them battled down the stretch. The final time was 1:48.56 for the nine furlongs and he paid $9.30 to win. Trainer Bill Mott said, “They have been beating each since they were two year-olds and we’ve traded win positions so I figured it was our turn to win.”
Jockey John Velazquez rode To Honor and Serve to an allowance win at Saratoga last year, but lost the mount to Jose Lezcano due to other riding commitments. Today Velazquez got another chance to ride the Live Oak Plantation runner and he made the most of it.
Johnny V. described the stretch drive. “He got to the quarter pole in hand without asking him to do anything and he when got to the lead he started waiting.  When Mike (jockey Mike Smith of Mucho Macho Man) came to the outside he dug in really well. I thought he was really going to go and gallop. Mucho Macho Man never got in front of me.”
After a very disappointing performance in the Suburban Mott put the blame on the extreme July temperatures, “I felt our excuse was the really salty weather in the Suburban and we decided to wait for the Woodward and the better weather and we got it.  He appreciated the better weather for the past couple weeks.”
The Woodward is a grade one stake that is a significant stepping stone to divisional honors and especially the Horse of the Year title. Here is a list of recent Woodward/HOY winners:  Havre de Grace 2011, Rachel Alexandra 2009, Curlin 2008, Saint Liam 2005, Ghostzapper 2004, Mineshaft 2003, Skip Away 1998, Cigar 1996 and 1995, and Holy Bull 1994.  


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Older Comments about To Honor and Serve Steps Up in the Woodward...

That isn't what Romans is saying, but you never know with these things. I really like Shack, so I'm hoping that he isn't done.
BSF of 105 for THAS. FloridaF--I have a feeling that Shack might be done for the year.
So he's going back for more Shack. That should be an interesting race.
Bill Mott today said that THAS may run before the BC, “Looking at the Belmont schedule for him, maybe we’d have a look at the Kelso." The Kelso is on Sept. 29.
Bill Mott today said that THAS may run before the BC, “Looking at the Belmont schedule for him, maybe we’d have a look at the Kelso." The Kelso is on Sept. 29.
THAS should point toward the BC mile. We saw last year what happens when you have a bunch of 8-9 furlong horse running in the classic. Horses like Drosselmyer, or Ruler On Ice, fill out the trifecta. Mucho Macho Man, Game on Dude, Stay Thirsty, one of the "Dans" (i always get them mixed up) these will be your classic
He'll get there, Scoggin. This was his first G1 attempt since the Belmont, and I really believe he would have gotten it if he had the necessary room to run. MMM is one that has really improved with age, especially since he's the baby of his foal crop.
I still get the feeling that MMM doesn't like to go by horses in the stretch. He has yet to get the G1 stakes win.
Agreed wit icy..Never bet against Johnny V because he is that good.
MMM and THAS take turns beating each other. If you like one on top there is no reason you shouldn't have the other. As for Johnny V in case you haven't noticed that's what he does, take inconsistant horses and makes them consistant and takes the trouble out of trouble horses.
I have to agree with rafirox; THAS should be pointed toward the Mile and not the Classic. Additionally, had MMM not been bumped at the break and hemmed in on the rail, he would have been able to win his race, a winning race at that.
Johnny V ruined the pick 3, and MMM. If THAS didn't win I would have cashed big time :(. As for the BC race, I think he should be pointed towards the mile. That seems to be his distance, he's never lost at a mile besides a loss to Shack in the Met Mile. IMO, I don't think he is a 10 furlong horse, 8-9 is his style. Nice win.
It was a great race, and To Honor and Serve was tough as nails, but I think Mucho Macho Man gets him next time.
Exciting race! I wonder which BC race THAS will be pointed for.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.


Matt’s articles and tweets frequently appear in the America’s Best Racing weekly Notebook. In 2012 he became a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.


The best way to get to know Matt is to check out some of his favorite articles from the past couple years.

• Preakness Interview with Trainer Todd Pletcher

• Kentucky Derby 2016 Handicapping Tips from A to Z


• Edison: the Travels of a Million Dollar Colt 

• A Kentucky Derby Field with Just 14 Horses

• What is the Best Kentucky Derby Running Style?



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