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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

To Honor and Serve Impresses

For all those people that thought To Honor and Serve was going to be one of the top three-year-olds in the nation this year – you were right. In a sublime performance today at Parx Racing, the son of Bernardini ran one of the finest races by any American sophomore so far in 2011.


The handsome bay colt looked like a winner all the way as he comfortably stalked the Pennsylvania Derby pace set by Rush Bay through the first six furlongs, before uncorking a burst of speed that carried him effortlessly to a large lead at the eighth pole. From there, the Bill Mott trainee coasted home under Jose Lezcano to a 2 ¼ length score, despite a strong rally from the Belmont Stakes winner, Ruler On Ice. Travers runner-up Rattlesnake Bridge finished 3 ½ lengths farther back in third. Final time for the nine furlongs over the fast main track was an excellent 1:47.34, making it the fastest Pennsylvania Derby in history.


Bred in Kentucky and owned by Live Oak Plantation, To Honor and Serve is bred to be a good one. Besides being out of one of the best young sires in the world in Bernardini, he also gets his class from his female side as he is out of the stakes winning Deputy Minister mare Pilfer. Considering his looks, breeding, and connections, it was not a surprise to see To Honor and Serve become one of the top rated juveniles in the country last fall.


Finishing the year with three consecutive victories, including easy wins in the Nashua and Remsen Stakes, To Honor and Serve was on everyone’s short list of top contenders for the Kentucky Derby, but after two mediocre third place finishes in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, and then a strain to a suspensory ligament, he became the forgotten three-year-old. Those forgotten months don't matter now. He tipped us off that he may be back with a dominating performance against older allowance foes on August 26 at Saratoga, and today he proved that he is for real.


With the Pennsylvania Derby victory, To Honor and Serve improved his career record to five wins from nine starts as he drew within an eyelash of becoming a million dollar earner.  The Pennsylvania may not have been the Derby that his connections were hoping for nine months ago, but today’s win positions To Honor and Serve perfectly for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. With no older, nor three-year-old males exactly setting the world on fire this year, the big race may be ripe for a horse who is putting it all together at just the right time … A horse just like To Honor and Serve.


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Older Comments about To Honor and Serve Impresses...

Rule on Ice had a bad position. He should have never position they horse so far back. If that horse was around the 5 position. He would have won.
I think we have both, icyhotboo.
The Gallant Bob S. 6 fur. in the prior race went in the following Times in 5ths: :21/2 :43/2 :54/4 1:07/2. Either we have two really fast horses in consecutive races or a fast race track.
To Honor and Serve has the WOW factor!
impressed with his time in this event. roi is a very late closer who needs at least 10f to get going. bc marathon, maybe.
He was my original pick for the Kentucky Derby. I thought he was one of our best three year olds then... Bill Mott never lost Faith in him and I am so thrilled to see him come back and prove to everyone that our Faith was well founded.
Nice win but he was giving 10lbs to Ruler On Ice who was closing like a freight train on a super fast track
To Honor and Serve gets a 103 Beyer for his Pennsylvania Derby victory.
Very imprsessive run. He beat a solid field and proved he is back. This race should really be given a grade one status with the horses that have run here recently. It like the DE Cap draws some of the top horses in it's division and still remains a grade two. Back to the point, i'm very glad this horse proved me wrong, I have like him for a while, but questioned his heart. He came up big yesterday and i'm extremely happy he did.
I've been praying for H&S to come back big. Philly Park is outside of Bill's usual "lines of racing", so when it was confirmed, I knew! And I couldnt believe that John V had taken off of him either! I wish I could have told him myself what a foolish move he was making...oh well, guess he learned the hard way.
To Honor and Serve was just a ton the best horse in the Pennsylvania Derby today!! I'd imagine that Jose Lezcano's ecstatic that he ended up with the mount on To Honor and Serve. Because Johnny Velazquez had first choice to ride either To Honor and Serve or Rattlesnake Ridge in the race, and chose Rattlesnake Ridge!! To Honor and Serve went through a rough stretch earlier in the season. When finished a pretty well beaten 3rd in both the Fountain of Youth of Florida Derby at Gulfstream, then went to Saratoga and ran a flat out stinker in the Amsterdam Stakes. But he didn't look anywhere near that horse today. The kind of form this horse is in right now. It might be worth supplementing him in the BC Classic? He'll get a big weight for age break for being a 3yr.old, and the way he handled 9f with relative ease today leads me to believe that 10f wouldn't have been a problem for him either? Especially with that Bernardini pedigree in him!! JMO.
Two great sires, that's for sure ... Hansen (for Tapit) looked great today as well. Scott, you sound as impressed as I was ... not sure what American horse would have beaten him today.
He's in incredible form right now. AMAZING performance.. looking forward to the future with this colt.
Never gave up on THAS and continued to follow his recovery on his FB. He oozes class. Just how many Bernardinis and Tapits do you think will be in BC races?!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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