04/25/2012 4:36PM

Belmont: Mott's good mood reflects how sharp To Honor and Serve looked in Westchester prep

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Tom Keyser
To Honor and Serve, trained by Bill Mott, will be one of the favorites in Saturday's Westchester.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Bill Mott came barreling down his Belmont Park shed row shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, yelling out some instructions to his help in a matter akin to a coach giving his team a pep talk.

The usually reserved Mott had a smile on his face and a spring to his step and as he came to the middle of the barn. Mott had just returned from the main track, where several of his horses had put in workouts, including the Grade 1 winner To Honor and Serve, who went a solid half-mile in 47.60 seconds in preparation for a start in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester Stakes.

[WESTCHESTER STAKES: Download PPs and wager on the full Saturday Belmont card]

“You can tell my horses worked good,” Mott said as he smiled ear-to-ear.

Mott hopes to be feeling this chipper Saturday afternoon after To Honor and Serve makes his return to the races in the Westchester, a one-turn mile which serves as a prep for the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 28.

For To Honor and Serve, Wednesday’s move was his ninth work since returning to training in south Florida this year. He will be making his first start since winning the Grade 1 Cigar Mile last Nov. 26 at Aqueduct.

“We’re looking forward to this race, but the Met Mile as well,” Mott said.

Mott said he believes To Honor and Serve has really matured physically from last year, saying he believes the colt put on 100 pounds over the winter.

“He’s big, stout and fit,” Mott said. “Really looks like a horse now.”

To Honor and Serve drew post 6 and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano in the Westchester, which will go as race 9 on a 10-race card.

The competition includes Boys At Tosconova, the 2010 Hopeful winner, who will break from the rail, and Jersey Town, the 2010 Cigar Mile winner, who drew post 2. Marilyn’s Guy, who has won two stakes since returning from an 11-month layoff is the 123-pound highweight – and will be spotting To Honor and Serve two pounds – and will break from post 5.

Others entered include Ponzi Scheme, Goombada Guska, and Bold Deed.

Suburban may be target for Flat Out

Mott may have an embarrassment of riches in the handicap division. Ron the Greek has won the Santa Anita Handicap, finished second in the Oaklawn Park Handicap, and is being prepared for the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs on June 16.

Mott also confirmed that he has picked up Flat Out, who won last year’s Suburban and Jockey Club Gold Cup when with trainer Scooter Dickey.

Mott said the earliest Flat Outwould be ready to run would be the Suburban here on July 7.

“He got a little vacation,” Mott said.

Ron the Greek is at Belmont, where he is in light training.

“He’s been jogging since his race in Arkansas,” Mott said. “We planned on giving him an easy week or two to recover from the trip.”

Mott said Royal Delta, the 2011 champion 3-year-old filly, has recently resumed galloping following her trip to Dubai, where she ran ninth against the boys in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

“She’s back galloping, can’t hold her on the ground,” said Mott, who added he has not yet formulated a plan for Royal Delta’s return.

* An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ron the Greek had won the Oaklawn Park Handicap. He finished second in that race to Alternation.