10/18/2010 2:57PM

To Honor and Serve points to Nashua

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Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve will make his first start as a 3-year-old as the probable favorite in Saturday's Fountain of Youth.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Thinking more long-term than short, trainer Bill Mott said Monday that his promising 2-year-old colt To Honor and Serve would skip the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6 and instead run in the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct the same day.

To Honor and Serve, a son of Bernardini owned by Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, was an impressive 8 3/4-length maiden winner at Belmont Park on Oct. 2, in which he ran 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:43.84 and earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. That came a month after he finished a troubled second to Astrology in a 14-horse field at Saratoga.

Mott said the only thing that could change his mind regarding the Juvenile would be if some of the major players in the race were declared from the race prior to next Monday’s pre-entry deadline.

“We’ll keep a watchful eye on it and see how it’s shaping up, but at this point our first inclination is to go to the Nashua,” Mott said Monday after To Honor and Serve worked five furlongs in 1:02.14 over the training track in company with Heat Shield.

Mott said to go from a maiden race to a Grade 1 “is a big jump for any horse, particularly on the dirt. I’ve seen it happen [successfully] more on the turf. I think the horse needs a little more seasoning if it’s a dirt race.”

Mott said running in the Nashua – and possibly the Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen on Nov. 27 – would afford To Honor and Serve the chance to accrue some graded stakes earnings, a determining factor when it comes to entry into next year’s Kentucky Derby. This year, Drosselmeyer, trained by Mott, did not have enough earnings to get into the 20-horse Derby field, though he eventually won the Belmont Stakes.

Mott said if To Honor and Serve were to earn significant graded earnings by the end of his 2-year-old season, it would enable him to train the colt the way he wants as a 3-year-old “rather than trying to get graded earnings. Seconds and thirds don’t get it in the spring.”

Unrivaled Belle works for Breeders' Cup 

One horse Mott is pointing to the Breeders’ Cup is Unrivaled Belle, who on Monday worked four furlongs in 50.82 seconds over the training track. In her first breeze since finishing second to Life At Ten in the Beldame, Unrivaled Belle went her first quarter in 25.42 seconds and her second quarter in 25.40.

Mott said he is looking forward to getting Unrivaled Belle back around two turns at the Breeders’ Cup. In the spring, at Churchill Downs, Unrivaled Belle defeated defending Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne.

“That’s a good thing for her,” Mott said about the two turns, “It’ll help her get the mile and an eighth.”

Mott’s other confirmed Breeders’ Cup starter is Proviso, the multiple Grade 1-winning mare who will take on the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Al Khali, a troubled fourth, beaten half-length by Joshua Tree in the Canadian International on Saturday, shipped to Churchill on Monday for a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Mott said.

Winter Memories works on turf

Winter Memories, the probable favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, worked four furlongs in 51.02 seconds under Jose Lezcano over Belmont’s yielding inner turf course Monday. It was her first breeze since she won the Miss Grillo Stakes on Oct. 3.

“She looked good, she breezed fine,” trainer Jimmy Toner said. “Once she got straightened away, she finished up good the last part.”

Toner said he was initially thinking of having Winter Memories do all of her training in New York, but now may ship to Churchill Downs in time to get a breeze over that turf course. Churchill will offer daily turf training beginning next Monday.

Also working on the Belmont turf course Monday was Winchester, the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic winner, who went four furlongs in 51.76 seconds. Winchester, who is pointing to the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, will likely have two more works here before shipping to Churchill on Nov. 2.

Banrock will miss Mohawk

Banrock, winner of eight stakes races including last year’s Mohawk Handicap, will not run in Saturday’s renewal of the Mohawk after missing too much time due to an infirmity, trainer Tom Bush said Monday.

According to Bush, Banrock had some inflammation in his colon, which also forced him to miss the Ashley T. Cole, a race he won twice previously. Bush said Banrock has been training regularly for a few weeks and is ready to breeze.

“I’ll either take him to Florida or stop on him,” said Bush, who was unsure what owner Ruth Bedford, who is 96 years old, wanted to do with Banrock. “I’m thinking of taking him and a half-dozen other horses to Florida and see how he does.”

Bush said Get Stormy, who finished fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile, is still being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Bush said he felt his instructions to Javier Castellano in the Shadwell may have cost his front-running horse a chance at being second.

“I thought he could sit,” Bush said. “He could’ve gone and stayed out of trouble and had the lead going into the first turn.”

Bush said Get Stormy came out of the race with several cuts on his left front leg. Bush said he left Get Stormy at Keeneland to train because he moves very well over the Polytrack surface.