To Honor And Serve Could Target BC Classic

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was at his Belmont Park barn Sunday morning and pleased, albeit not altogether surprised, with To Honor and Serve’s record-setting victory on Saturday in the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing.


“He ran very well,” said Mott. “It was not a total surprise coming off his previous race in Saratoga. He had displayed that he was moving in the right direction. He did it again yesterday.”


The 3-year-old Bernardini colt completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.34, defeating Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice by 2 ¼ lengths and running the fastest timing of the race in 32 editions.


As a 2-year-old, To Honor and Serve won both the Grade 2 Nashua and Grade 2 Remsen at Aqueduct Racetrack, stamping himself as an early Triple Crown contender. After third-place finishes in both the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby, he was sidelined with a suspensory ligament injury to his left foreleg.


He returned to the races four months later at Saratoga Race Course, running sixth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam run at 6 ½ furlongs. He resurfaced 25 days later in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race and cruised to a dominant 8 ¼-length victory.


Mott said that the colt, owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, came out of the race well and could go on to the Grade 1, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on November 5.


“He looked good last night,” said Mott. “We shipped him back to Saratoga and he will train up there for a while. We discussed [going to the Breeders’ Cup Classic] after the race. The timing would be right and things have kind of fallen into place by fate. I’m sure Mrs. Weber and everybody else on the team would be excited to go if he is doing well.”


Mott’s star 3-year-old filly, Royal Delta, is expected to work at Belmont Park on Monday.


“She is doing well, and will probably breeze tomorrow after the break,” said Mott.


The daughter of Empire Maker, owned by Palides Investments, was extremely impressive last time out, catapulting to a 5 ½-length victory in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on August 20.


Mott said that the current plan is to run her against older fillies and mares in the Grade 1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational on Super Saturday, October 1, at Belmont Park, in a race that is also expected to feature Havre de Grace, most recently seen beating the boys in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Woodward.


“As we speak right now, the plan is to go to the Beldame, but that could change,” said Mott, who mentioned the Grade 2 Cotillion at Parx on October 1 and the Juddmonte Spinster at Keeneland on October 9 as possible destinations.


Mott added that he is also hoping to work 4-year-old filly Deluxe and 2-year-old filly Alaura Michele at Belmont on Monday for possible starts in the Grade 1, $500,000 Flower Bowl Invitational next Saturday and the Grade 3, $100,000 Miss Grillo next Sunday, respectively.


Deluxe, by Storm Cat, is out of one of the most productive mares of all time in Hasili, making her a half-sibling to Group 2 winner and influential stallion Dansili and Grade/Group 1 winners Banks Hill, Heat Haze, Intercontinental, Champs Elysees, and Cacique.


In May 2010, Deluxe ran second in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp. After a subpar Group 3 performance last October, the Juddmonte-owned filly was eventually transferred to Mott. Her first race for him was in the Paris Opera overnight stakes at Saratoga, in which she finished a fast-closing second by a head to Sugar Again.


Alaura Michele, a 2-year-old daughter of Arch, is undefeated in two turf starts, most recently registering an impressive 2 ¼-length score in the P. G. Johnson at Saratoga on August 31.


Mott indicated that she came into contact with a virus after that race, but is fully recovered now and back on the track. If she breezes on Monday, it will be the first since her most recent race.




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Older Comments about To Honor And Serve Could Target BC Classic...

Okay Protagonist,you had the Trifecta in the Pa. Derby, and you're right my Bears haven't done anything in Two Weeks they won on Opening weekend of the season and haven't shown up since. However your Redskins droped a close one in Big D on Monday . Have a nice week
Afleet, what if he does? One never knows until one tries,and he just hasn't had the oppertunity to try it so far this year. Afterall he was sidelined while the other 3yros. were given their oppertunity with the Derby. I have solid faith in Bill Mott that he knows what he is doing,over time he has proved my faith in him to be correct. All the way back to 1976 at SPTS/Chgo! Go gettem ol'friend and Good Hunting!
I don't think this horse will get a 1 1/4 in a G1
Congratulations to Team Mott and Live Oak Plantation, on the Pa. Derby win by To Honor and Serve! Good Luck with plans for the BC Classic. I hope that everything continues to go well.

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