08/04/2009 11:00PM

Our Honor sharp for class drop in sprint


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Our Honor is in peak career form heading into a second-level $32,000 optional claimer Friday at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old gelding trained by Jason Servis, Our Honor has run 90 or higher Beyer Speed Figures in his last three races, with a win, a second, and a third in that span.

Our Honor turned the corner over the winter in grass sprints at Gulfstream Park. His form took off in the last three outings, all six-furlong contests on the main track.

Here at Monmouth, Our Honor rated nicely to score a second-level allowance win in the slop May 29. He then stepped up to a key race, a third-level allowance where Our Honor battled for the lead through fast fractions of 21.91 seconds and 44.29 before settling for third with Channing Hill aboard.

"Channing said he was running fine, but he just didn't have any kick," Servis said. "Look at how fast they ran. How are you going to have any kick?"

When Our Honor starting feeling the effects of the speed duel, Fleet Valid slipped up the fence to nab the victory.

In hindsight, that effort was even more impressive after Fleet Valid stepped up to win the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes on the Haskell Day undercard.

The only horse in field for the $32,000 tag, Our Honor has the rail for the one-level drop.

"My horse is doing good," Servis said. "Hopefully, he'll run well. And he's going to have to run."

Even with the class drop, this is not an easy spot. Breaking from the rail with Hill aboard, Our Honor faces eight rivals in the six-furlong race, including Rough Road Ahead and Lucky James who mixed it up last time in a second-level allowance here July 2.

Rough Road Ahead got up to win by a nose but was disqualified and placed fourth behind Lucky James for contact a furlong from the finish.

Grand Minstrel makes his first start for trainer Todd Pletcher. He was one of the horses that owner Edward P. Evans transferred from Jimmy Jerkens to Pletcher. The group included Florida Derby and Amsterdam winner Quality Road.

A gray 4-year-old colt, Grand Minstrel is looking for his first win since the Capote Stakes on Dec. 12, 2007, at Aqueduct.

Completing the field are Salty Cheeks, Hop Skip and Away, A Dynamite Time, Laysh Laysh Laysh, and Disco T.