11/23/2011 4:56PM

Aqueduct: To Honor and Serve gets another Grade 1 shot

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Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve returns in the Cigar Mile off a seventh in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Bill Mott won the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Drosselmeyer, who was considered the lesser regarded of the two horses the Hall of Fame trainer ran in that race three weeks ago at Churchill Downs.

The horse some thought could win the Classic for Mott, To Honor and Serve, will try instead to earn his first Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. The Cigar Mile, named for the horse Mott won his first BC Classic with in 1995, tops a 10-race card that includes the Grade 1 Gazelle for 3-year-old fillies as well as the Remsen and Demoiselle, a pair of Grade 2 races for juvenile males and females, respectively.

To Honor and Serve, who won the Nashua and Remsen here as a 2-year-old, came into the Classic off of a dominant allowance win at Saratoga and a sharp score in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. In the Classic, To Honor and Serve was three to four wide most of the trip, but was in contention until the eighth pole before switching to his wrong lead and fading late. He finished seventh, beaten only 3 1/2 lengths by his late-running stablemate Drosselmeyer.

“I thought he ran a very good race,” Mott said. “He got a little rank in the first turn. Uncle Mo drifted out in front of him, he got bumped and he got a little rank in the first turn. It looked like he was in the running at the furlong pole. He only got beat 3 1/2 lengths for the whole thing.”

Mott said that To Honor and Serve appeared to have come out of the Classic in good shape. That and the fact To Honor and Serve is a multiple graded stakes over Aqueduct’s main track made this race appealing to Mott.

To Honor and Serve, owned by Live Oak Plantation, drew post 6 in the seven-horse field, which includes Haynesfield, the runner-up in last year’s Cigar Mile, and the Mike Repole-owned and Todd Pletcher-trained entry of Caixa Eletronica and Calibrachoa. Those two horses were also entered in Thursday’s Grade 3 Fall Highweight, but are expected to run in the Cigar.

Sangaree, second to Calibrachoa in the Bold Ruler, drew post 7. Hymn Book, an overnight stakes winner at Belmont last month and the runner-up to Flat Out in the Grade 2 Suburban in July, and the New York-bred Pretty Boy Freud were late additions to the Cigar Mile, which runs as race 8.

 

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