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Belmont: Royal Delta, To Honor and Serve work for Mott
ELMONT, N.Y. - It’s good to be Bill Mott these days.
On Saturday, Mott put two of his Grade 1-winning horses - Flat Out and Ron the Greek - through workouts at Saratoga in preparation for a start in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 29.
On Sunday, at Belmont, Mott was on hand to watch two more of his Grade 1 winners - the 2011 champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta and Woodward winner To Honor and Serve - put in works four hours and two tracks apart.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on the main track, Royal Delta zipped five furlongs in 59.24 seconds, with a final quarter of 23.44 seconds as she tunes up for the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame on Sept. 29.
At 10:15, on the training track, Mott watched To Honor and Serve go a half-mile in 47.50 seconds in his first work since winning the Woodward on Sept. 1. Mott has not yet decided whether To Honor and Serve will run in the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso here on Sept. 29 or train up to the Breeders’ Cup, presumably the $5 million Classic, but possibly the $1 million Dirt Mile, at Santa Anita on Nov. 3.
Royal Delta has won the Fleur de Lis and Delaware handicaps this season but is coming off a second-place finish to Love and Pride in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 26. Prior to Sunday’s move at Belmont, Royal Delta worked a bullet half-mile in 48.00 seconds at Saratoga on Sept. 7.
“She’s doing as good as ever, it seems like,” Mott said. “She was doing well going into the last one, got beat. I’m not here to make excuses. We finished second. No one wants to hear a whiner.”
Mott said he’s on the “balancing beam right now” regarding what to do next with To Honor and Serve, who has only raced four times this year.
“If it was the last race of the year I’d be 100 percent sure I’m running,” Mott said. “I just want to make sure I get him to the Breeders’ Cup the best way I can. His work was good enough today. He’s been doing well. I could go either way. If I trained into the Breeders’ Cup it wouldn’t be a problem. We trained him into the Woodward.’”
To Honor and Serve had eight weeks between the Suburban and the Woodward. It would be nine weeks between the Woodward and the Breeders’ Cup.
Mott said that he also has Lunar Victory, the New York-bred who has won five straight races, nominated to the Kelso. On Saturday, at Saratoga, Lunar Victory worked five furlongs in 1:00.02 at Saratoga.
“He’s working as good as anybody,” said Mott, who added he wouldn’t run both To Honor and Serve and Lunar Victory in the Kelso.
After Garden City win, Brown moves on
It’s not too bad being Chad Brown these days either.
On Saturday, Brown won the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes with Samitar while also finishing second in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel with Dealbata.
On Sunday, he watched the 4-year-old filly Dream Peace and the 2-year-old filly Watsdachances work a solid five furlongs in 1:02.52 with a final quarter of 22.86 seconds over Belmont’s inner turf course. Three sets of traffic cones, referred to as dogs, were up, keeping the workers beyond the middle of the turf.
Dream Peace was transferred to Brown from the European trainer Robert Collet following her second-place finish to Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Diana. She is being pointed to the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl here on Sept. 29
“I’ve seen this filly every week get better and better and better,” Brown said. “She came to me in excellent shape. European horses come over in all different situations, some in better shape than others based on how they handle the trip, how they acclimate but Dream Peace came over great. How she’s acclimated over here I’ve been extremely impressed.”
Brown is also likely to run Zagora in the Flower Bowl. Zagora, who worked Saturday in Saratoga, was vanned down to Belmont on Sunday.
Watsdachances, who won the P.G. Johnson in her North American debut and first start for Brown, is being pointed to the Miss Grillo at Belmont on Oct. 7.
Meanwhile, Brown said Samitar came out of her head victory over Somali Lemonade in good order and would be pointed to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland on Oct. 13. Somali Lemonade is a likely candidate for that race too as her last win came at Keeneland in last fall’s Jessamine Stakes.
In other works of note Sunday at Belmont:
* Point of Entry, the Man o’ War and Sword Dancer winner trained by Shug McGaughey, went four furlongs in 49.03 seconds over the Belmont turf in company with Boisterous. Point of Entry is pointing to the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on Sept. 29.
* Mystical Star, the New York Stakes winner trained by Christophe Clement, went five furlongs in 1:03.59 with a final quarter of 22.90 seconds as she prepares for the Flower Bowl.
* At Saratoga, It’s Tricky worked five furlongs in 58.40 seconds over the synthetic surface at the Godolphin training center. She is headed to the Beldame.
Tom i hope Shack gets healthy. Hes a true warrior. I think THAS will probably run in the Classic. His stud value wont go up much if he wins the dirt mile but if somehow he won the Classic it would be a jackpot. The older division is so-so to below average. Unfortunately this horse cracks at 10 furlongs. If anyone can do it Mott can.
Bill Mott has a very nice line up of horses under his tutelage. He's low key and does what he does without a lot of fanfare, which is definitely different. He lets his horses and their records do the talking for him, which I like. We need more articles on Chad Brown's barn, too, he's a very good, advancing Trainer with a talented group of horses.
Kelso. Then BC Dirt Mile. He and Shackleford could have a nice rivalry.
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