03/16/2011 1:08PM

Gomez picks up mount on To Honor and Serve

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Garrett Gomez will be aboard To Honor and Serve in the Florida Derby, replacing John Velazquez, who rode the colt in the Remsen (above) and to a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth.

Garrett Gomez has picked up the mount on To Honor and Serve for the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on April 3, his agent, Ron Anderson, said Wednesday.

John Velazquez had ridden To Honor and Serve in his first start of the year, a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

But Velazquez was in jeopardy of losing the mount before that race, owing to concern over his availability as the May 7 Kentucky Derby nears. Velazquez is the regular rider for Uncle Mo, the acknowledged favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo made a successful return to the races on Saturday in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

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Uncle Mo is most likely going to make his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 9, but trainer Todd Pletcher has left open the slight possibility that Uncle Mo could run in the Florida Derby.

The Florida Derby will be the final prep for the Kentucky Derby for To Honor and Serve, who is trained by Bill Mott.

Gomez’s only other prominent Kentucky Derby prospect at this time is Sway Away, who is scheduled to run on Saturday in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.