11/29/2010 4:49PM

To Honor and Serve banks his ticket on Derby trail

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
To Honor and Serve, John Velazquez up, wins the Remsen.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Bill Mott won his first Triple Crown race this year when Drosselmeyer took the Belmont Stakes. Mott wanted to run Drosselmeyer in the Kentucky Derby five weeks earlier, but the horse did not have sufficient graded stakes earnings to crack the 20-horse field.

In To Honor and Serve, Mott will enter 2011 with arguably the best Kentucky Derby prospect he has had in his Hall of Fame career. Mott, winless in five previous Kentucky Derbies with six starters, won’t have to worry about earnings keeping him out of next year’s race. By sweeping the Grade 2 Nashua and Saturday’s Grade 2 Remsen Stakes, To Honor and Serve has accrued $210,000 in graded stakes earnings, with more expected to come early next year. Mott mentioned the $400,000 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26 at Gulfstream Park as a possible starting point.

“Now it’s just keep the horse happy and healthy and get a couple of races in him,” Mott said Saturday after To Honor and Serve won the Remsen in front-running fashion by two lengths over Mucho Macho Man. “You’re not worried if you finish third in the next one, you’re not panicking, because you’ve already got some money behind you.”

To Honor and Serve did leave for south Florida on Sunday and went to Mott’s stable at Payson Park. The horse could spend some time at owner Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud in Ocala, Fla., for a while as well.

To Honor and Serve, who earned a Beyer Speed figure of 102 for his Remsen win, became the eighth horse to sweep both the Nashua and Remsen. Five of the previous seven to do it won graded stakes at 3, including 1992 Preakness winner Pine Bluff.

In 2008, Mott won the Remsen with Court Vision, who made his 3-year-old debut in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park where he finished third. After another third-place finish in the Wood Memorial, Court Vision finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby. He would eventually find his niche as a turf horse, winning multiple Grade 1 races on the grass.

“In all reality, I thought Court Vision was a good prospect, although he had to battle to win his [Remsen]. It was a matter of being game,” Mott said. “This horse has won his races a little easier. Court Vision worked at them and got the job done, showed a tremendous amount of heart to do it. This horse has been basically unchallenged other than in his [first] maiden race. . . . I’m sure as we go along there’ll be new shooters and he’ll get the experience he needs.”

Mucho Macho Man, runner up in both the Nashua and Remsen, came out of his race in good order, according to trainer Kathy Ritvo, and will ship to south Florida by the end of the week. Ritvo said Mucho Macho Man could be pointed to the $400,000 Holy Bull at Gulfstream on Jan. 29.

“He came out of his race super. He comes out of all his races like he never ran’’ Ritvo said. “That’s the best thing about the horse, it doesn’t affect him much when he does run.”

Jersey Town to stay in training

Jersey Town, winner of Saturday’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile, will stay in training next year and was to ship to the Palm Meadows training center in Florida on Tuesday along with the rest of trainer Barclay Tagg’s New York string.

Tagg said that Jersey Town came out of the race in good order physically and that he would be pointed to the major one-mile and seven-furlong races run in 2011. Tagg said his major objective next year is the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, which will be run Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. A first objective for 2011 could be the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap – a one-turn mile race – run on March 12. The Grade 1 Met Mile, run on May 30 would be another objective.

Tagg said that he misspoke when he told reporters after the race that Jersey Town had been sidelined for a while because of a fractured hind leg. The horse had suffered a knee fracture in the fall of 2009.

Haynesfield, who was beaten a head by Jersey Town, came out of the race “great,” according to assistant trainer Toby Sheets, who added that there are no immediate plans for the New York-bred colt, who earlier in the year won the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Grade 2 Suburban Stakes.

Dutrow eyes Oaklawn for winter

Trainer Tony Dutrow plans to eschew south Florida this winter for Oaklawn Park, and he will be bringing at least two stakes horses with him.

Dutrow said that Top Flight Handicap winner Spacy Tracy will come to race as a 6-year-old in 2011 and will be among the 30 horses he is taking to Oaklawn. Dutrow also has the Grade 2 Demoiselle winner, Dixie City, in his care and she too could go to Oaklawn.

Dutrow said there were several reasons why he chose not to go back to south Florida for the winter.

“The money’s bad, the competition is the toughest in the world – tougher than Saratoga. It’s one-turn racing, they don’t want to give you two turns,” Dutrow said, referring to the fact there are no opportunities to run two turns at shorter than 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream. “Oaklawn has a great 3-year-old, two-turn program that’s not nearly as difficult, and the money’s as good as Florida.”

Breen to have New York winter string

One of the few new faces on the New York backside this winter will be Kelly Breen, who will have 17 horses based at Aqueduct. Breen will also have 17 head in south Florida.

“I have many horses for the same condition, so I’m trying to diversify and win as many races as we can,” Breen said. “I have a bunch of maidens. I can’t have six maiden special weights all in one spot. We still have a bunch of 2-year-olds that haven’t started yet.”

While Breen admitted that his best horses would likely be in Florida, he said horses such as Galaxy Kat, third in his debut, and Pants on Fire, a seven-length maiden winner who was scratched from the Remsen, would be stabled in New York. Nacho Friend, third in last year’s Gotham, will also be here.

Breen’s first runner of this inner-track season will be Red Elephant in Wednesday’s eighth race, a starter allowance for horses who started for a claiming price of $50,000 or less. In his most recent start, Red Elephant was beaten a neck by Footcandles, who won an allowance race here on Sunday at 30-1.