09/24/2012 4:17PM

Belmont: To Honor and Serve drills as Kelso approaches

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Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve worked a strong half-mile in 47.15 seconds Monday, the fastest half-mile move of the morning at Belmont.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bill Mott wouldn’t declare Woodward winner To Honor and Serve as a definite starter for Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso Handicap, but the horse gave every indication he would like to run in the one-turn mile race when he worked a strong half-mile in 47.15, the fastest half-mile move of the morning.

To Honor and Serve, with exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset up, went his first quarter in 24.18 and his final quarter in 22.97.

“He works that well when he’s on his game,” Mott said. “I’m not saying for sure we’re running, but I don’t see any big reason not to run.”

Mott is already pointing Ron the Greek and Flat Out to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but may have To Honor and Serve headed that way, too. However, he believes the one-mile Kelso is the best way of getting him to that race while leaving the Dirt Mile as a possibility.

“If you’re going to sharpen his speed, I think it makes sense to run him a mile,” Mott said. “I would never consider running him a mile and a quarter in the Jockey Club and back in the Classic. I think a mile and a quarter stretches him as far as he wants to go. If I’m going to run him, I’m going to run at a distance I think he’s exceptional at and if we happen to run in the Classic, then well stretch him out in there.”

Others pointing to the Kelso are Fort Loudon, Shackleford, Tapizar, and possibly Golddigger’s Boy, Jersey Town, and Caixa Eletronica.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Caixa Eletronica also is possible for the Vosburgh and appeared to be leaning in that direction, given the pace scenario that could develop in that six-furlong race.

“If everyone shows up who’s supposed to, the Vosburgh will have a very hot pace scenario, which would be favorable,” Pletcher said. “But if the track continues to play the way it has been – it’s very hard to close on this track at the moment – we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Those pointing to the Vosburgh include Justin Phillip, Little Drama, Poseidon’s Warrior, Rothko, Sean Avery, and The Lumber Guy.

Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Match race between Shack and To Honor And Serve. As will be The BC Mile.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
Lots of speed lined up. I am not so sure Tapizar won't have a say in there, especially since it is a one turn mile. He has been riddled with problems and is finally on his game. I look for him to impress here.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Would be nice to have him coming around as well. Kinda a lot to handle in this spot though IMO.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Anytime Shack and THAS go eyeball to eyeball, Shack is 1-5 to boss THAS around. He's just a tougher customer and yes I know THAS showed some rare tenacity in his last race, but I'll take Shack any day.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Shack is tough no doubt. But To Honor And Serve is no slouch. Maybe class wise you have a valid point but THAS is still improving. Even though he is about to be retried. That seems like a mistake to me as he has a lot of upside and room to progress as a five year old.