08/27/2011 11:40AM

To Honor and Serve points to Pennsylvania Derby after win

Barbara D. Livingston
To Honor and Serve is being pointed to the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – With a confidence booster under his belt, To Honor and Serve is headed back to stakes company, with his next race likely to come in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 24 at Parx Racing, trainer Bill Mott said Saturday.

On Friday at Saratoga, To Honor and Serve flashed the form he displayed as a 2-year-old by going gate to wire to win a third-level allowance race here by 8 1/4 lengths. His final time of 1:48.31 was the fastest time of the meet for 1 1/8 miles. He earned a 102 Beyer Speed Figure, equaling his career best from last year’s Grade 2 Remsen score.

It was the first win for To Honor and Serve since the Remsen. In three starts this year, he ran third in both the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby and was sixth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes, a sprint race here Aug. 1.

“That’s what we saw from him as a 2-year-old,” Mott said. “I don’t think he exceeded my expectations at all; mildly disappointed with his previous races this winter.”

Mott liked how composed To Honor and Serve was prior to the race and how well he relaxed during the running of the race.

“He was good enough to saddle, just that little bit calmer than he had been in his previous race here,” Mott said.  “More professional in the post parade; he was on his toes, but you could see he wasn’t fretting when he went in the gate.”

Mott said the Pennsylvania Derby makes the most sense from a timing perspective. Races like the Smarty Jones (Sept. 5) at Parx and the Super Derby (Sept. 10) at Louisiana Downs come back too quick.